Abi Carver designs yoga routines for mountain bikers looking to relieve muscular aches and pains, gain an edge in competition and boost mental focus for next level performance. Her aim is to make yoga more accessible to adventure sports athletes so that they can do the activities they are passionate about for longer, with less pain and with more skill. Follow her @yoga15app
for more yoga tips and tutorials.
Thank you for all your comments and messages over the last few months. It’s amazing to hear what a profound impact these yoga videos are having, not only on relieving chronic back pain, but also on improving your mobility, flexibility and performance on the bike.
For those of you who want to integrate yoga into your training program, this video is designed specifically to stretch out tight muscles after your ride. It hits the calves, hamstrings, hips, groin, lower back, chest, and shoulders.
First, I just want to briefly address a few points that come up frequently in your comments and questions:1. Progress Not Perfection
The aim is not to do the poses perfectly but to use them to increase the health, comfort, strength, flexibility and mobility of your body. For example, lizard pose is a hip opener. If you have to strain your upper body to get into the ‘perfect’ lizard pose, that is not ideal. Instead, adapt the pose in any way that allows you to release tension in your hips. Your flexibility and range of motion will improve gradually over time, and the pose will start to look more and more like I demonstrate in the videos.2. Timing
The timing and frequency of your yoga sessions is going to vary considerably depending on your fitness, skill level, schedule, and commitments. My advice is to experiment to see what works best for you, and then resolve to be consistent. I live by the sea, so I personally go for a walk on the rocks every morning for about an hour to warm up my body and clear my head and then come home and do 15 minutes of yoga before I start my work day. I change up the style of yoga depending on how I feel - whether I want to build strength, stretch out tight muscles, work on my mobility, release areas of tension, improve my balance, focus on my breath or get into the zone mentally. Whatever I feel I need. Some of my clients schedule 2-3 short sessions a week and some practice every day. Neither is better, just find what is most effective for you. 3. Warming Up
As with all exercise, it is not advisable to practice yoga if your muscles are cold or have been in one position for a long period of time as you risk sustaining an injury. Especially, if you live in a cold climate, I wouldn't head straight for your yoga mat when you get out of bed. First, do a couple of dynamic stretches to warm up your body and circulate blood to the muscles and joints. If you choose to practice in the afternoon or evening, you should be able to go straight into it.. 4. Breathing
One of the unique benefits of yoga is the focus on the breath. The aim is not to try to concentrate unwaveringly on your breath throughout the entire sequence - as that would take Buddha-level powers of mind control - but to be aware that when you feel challenged, your breath becomes short and shallow. By slowing down your breath, you will find that your body relaxes and you can go deeper into the stretch. Training the ability to control your breath will also help you to maintain calm, clarity and focus on your rides and in competition. 5. Stretch Reflex
If you apply too much force to a stretch, your body’s innate reflex reaction will prevent your muscle from lengthening beyond a safe range. However, it is possible to override the stretch reflex and cause yourself harm. Here are some pointers to protect you:
- Never use strength to increase a stretch - instead deepen your breath and relax into it
- Listen to the alignment cues I give you, for instance, to bend your knees as much as you need to in forward bends
- Learn to differentiate between sensations of discomfort and of pain - if you do experience any amount of pain, back off from the stretch and trust that your flexibility will increase gradually over time with consistent practice
- Remember that it has taken a lifetime for tightness to build up in your body and dysfunctional movement patterns to develop, so be patient and respectful to your body. It’s the only one you have!6. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I am only going to recommend poses that I believe the majority of you guys can get really good at…with practice. I am not going to suggest you attempt the splits or try to put your foot behind your head. However, advanced poses like wheel and crow are phenomenal for training flexibility, balance, strength and discipline. It may take you few weeks of consistent practice to master these poses but how will you know if you don’t try. And it’s child’s play compared to throwing your body down mountains at high speed!
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions.This video is available to download here.
Previous Yoga with Abi
:Short Yoga Routine To Help With Lower Back Pain in Bikers15-Minute Yoga Routine To Enhance Balance and Agilityl