Practicing yoga immediately after riding a bike is one of the best times to soak in the benefits of your bike ride and get the most out of yoga. This is an optimal window for athletes to benefit from yoga because the muscles are warm and elastic. By stretching key areas of the body that get tight from riding, the aim is to elicit a more permanent improvement in flexibility while taking advantage of the heat.
Here are some specific areas of the body that you will want to open up in a yoga practice to benefit immediately post-ride:
- The Chest – Poses like baby cobra or pectoralis stretches at the wall are great.
- The Quads – Thigh stretches such as half frog pose (ardha bekasana) are perfect.
- The Hamstrings & Calves – Forward bends will stretch the hamstrings, a great one is supta padangustasana with a strap. Just be sure you create healthy lumbar curve before stretching!
- The Hips – Nothing feels better than some hip opening after the all that linear movement on the saddle. Pigeon pose and eye of the needle are just the ticket.
- The Spine – Backbends of any kind will help. Since riding a bike puts you into a hunched over rounded shape, your yoga poses must counter that posture with plenty of spine extension, especially cobra pose, bow pose and bridge pose.
In reality – every part of the body is yearning to be stretched after a ride, so don’t hold back!
One thing to note: Even though your muscles will be warm, the repetitive movement of the legs and bracing of the arms coupled with the fairly fixed position on the bike is bound to make your body feel stiffer than usual right after the ride. For this reason, starting the yoga practice gradually, moving slowly and gently in and out of poses is prudent.
For step-by-step instruction to benefit the body parts above, the Post-Ride yoga classes in our Yoga for Cyclists section are designed to guide you safely and easily through a practice directly from the saddle to the mat. We hope you enjoy!
About Taro Smith, Ph.D.
Taro is a physiologist, yoga teacher, and former bike racer. He designs specialty content for YogaGlo to benefit a broad range of yoga practitioners. He is the co-founder of Boulder Cycle Sport, a nationally renowned cycling retailer and 90 Monkeys, a professional yoga school. Connect with Taro on the bike via Strava TSmith and on LinkedIn Taro Smith