There are many skills taught in yoga that have the potential make you a faster, stronger and more competitive rider. In this article, I will outline how yoga can help you to enhance your balance and agility, including a 15-minute video that demonstrates these principles.
Balance and agility are at the core of every aspect of riding: cornering, getting on top of your pedal strokes, generating power and speed, nailing manuals, railing berms, avoiding injury and generally staying rubber-side down when things gets loose! How Yoga Enhances Balance and Agility
• Yoga increases flexibility and suppleness in your muscles.
• Yoga increases joint mobility in the hips, shoulders, wrists, knees and ankles.
• Yoga increases blood flow bringing nutrients to the joints and connective tissue.
• Yoga increases body awareness.
• Yoga improves breath efficiency.
• Yoga trains balance and proprioception, which is especially important for reducing the risk of injury.
• Yoga builds core strength.
• Yoga enhances focus and concentration.
• Yoga alleviates pain.
• Yoga enables you to recover more quickly.Balance Poses
This routine is fairly advanced so if you are new to yoga, do not expect to nail it first time through!
It includes 3 balancing poses that may take you a few weeks to master:Dancer
Stand in Mountain pose. Shift your weight onto your left foot, take hold of the inside of your right ankle with your right hand and lift your left arm up to the sky. Lean forward and press the top of your right foot against the palm of your hand. Hold the pose as still as you can for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.Warrior 3
Stand in Mountain pose. Tip forward from the hips, lifting your left foot back behind you to hip height. Press back through your left heel and point your toes down. Lengthen both legs without locking your standing knee. Bring your arms back beside you and reach through your fingertips. Fix your gaze on a point that isn’t moving to help you keep your balance. Stay here for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.
If you struggle to maintain your balance, you can rest your fingertips on the mat.Crow
Squat down with the balls of your feet pressed together, your knees out wide and the palms of your hands on the mat, shoulder-width apart. Lower your upper body between your knees and press your upper arms against your shins. Come up to the balls of your feet, spread your fingers wide and press into your palms. Squeeze your knees firmly against your upper arms, lift your hips and lean forward so that your weight shifts from your feet into your hands. Keep moving forward until your feet begin to lift off the mat.
If you are new to the pose, start by lifting one foot, then the other, then try both together. Balance and Agility Routine
This sequence trains balance, coordination, agility and core strength. Incorporate it 1-2 times a week into your training program.