Post Ride Yoga
After a big ride or training session your post ride yoga should focus mainly on relaxation. Long held passive stretches help to stimulate rehydration of the tissues, aiding recovery as well as creating longer lasting changes in the connective tissues to increase range of motion. Passive stretching also triggers the relaxation response which puts the body into the optimal state for recovery.
Supported Fish Pose
How: Place one block on the lowest height just under the bottom of your shoulder blades and the other block underneath your head. Relax and allow the upper chest and rib cage to open and the breath to expand into the chest. Stay for up to three minutes.
Why:This pose will help to open up the chest, shoulders and upper back. Making sure you focus on relaxing here will start to put your body into a paraympathetic state.
Wide Leg Forward Bend
How: Take your legs wide and the fingertips to the floor behind you. Use a block to sit on if you find your pelvis tipping backwards. Gradually start to walk the hands forwards without rounding the back. Pay attention to the inner legs and back off if you feel any pulling on the knee. Find a place that you can hold for up to three minutes without strain.
Why: This will help to release the adductors (inner thigh muscles), hamstrings and groins.
½ Reclined Hero’s Pose on Block
How:Take one foot to the outside of its own hip, toes pointing backwards. Use a block underneath the other hip. Bend the other leg. This might be plenty, stay there if it is. To increase the stretch take both hands behind you. You can remove the block and lie all the way back if your knees will allow but don’t force anything. Stay for as long as possible. Any pain in the knees release off straight away.
Why: This pose will release the quadriceps, hip flexors and front of ankles so it’s a great pose for cyclists.
Shoulderstand Variation on Block
How:Lying on your back, knees bent, lift your hips and put the block underneath the hips on the medium or low height. Gradually straighten the legs upwards and see if you can relax there for up to five minutes. You can also do this pose against the wall so that the knees can be slightly bent if needed.
Why: This pose provides a mild inversion which can help to refresh the legs, alleviate fatigue and is calming on the nervous system.
Enjoy the Stillness
There are plenty more post ride poses that you can use but these ones are a good place to start. Remember, your yoga practice isn’t your sport. Use it to tune into what your body needs and to encourage a sense of rest and recovery in the tissues as well as in the mind and spirit. Balance is key to being able to live an adventurous lifestyle, we need the quiet times as much as the intensity of adventure, that way we can avoid burn out and continue to enjoy doing what we do!