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Yoga for the city rider – take your practice onto your bicycle.
Once you are comfortable on your bike, you can explore bike yoga on your daily ride. Fly, stretch, and breathe while riding to your next destination. Whether near or far, every pedal is worth a mindful breath. These introductory poses allow you to imagine the possibilities while clearing the mind, strengthening your body, and enjoying the natural environments. Ride, stretch, dance in the wind, have fun, and pedal on.
Stand tall in Tadasana on a slight downhill grade. Engage the core and continue the Ujjayi breath from the seated pose. Stretch the Achilles and contract the quadriceps. Remember to breathe while stretching your fingertips wide and high. Calf muscles can also be stretched by lifting and lowering the heels on the pedals. Pedal one half turn to stretch both sides equally.
This calming breathing technique is used to release feelings of frustration and irritation. Inhale a little deeper than your normal breath with your mouth closed. Exhale while constricting your throat muscles to make a vibrating “ahhhhh” sound. Continue constricting your throat during your next inhale. Repeat.
Sit upright, hips grounded, legs moving. Pedal at a steady, medium pace while taking your focus to your breath. As you inhale, you elongate – engaging the core as the crown of your head reaches for the stars. Hold your breath briefly and exhale. Continue to engage the core while exhaling all the air out. Inhale a nice Ujjayi breath slowly through your nose as you tilt your chin down and contract the back of your throat slightly. As you exhale through your nose, release your shoulders and continue to engage your core, as it is protector of the back. Continue to be mindful of your breath as you enjoy your ride.
Half Moon Pose
The beauty of yoga on a bike is that your hips are aligned – and the bike makes for a wonderful prop. Sit tall and stretch the entire side of the body into half moon. One hand is used to keep the bike in line, the core keeps the balance, and a light touch on the handlebars prevents sore wrists. As one arm reaches high for the sky, extend your spine, and gently bend out of the waist to the left and then to the right. This can be done in both seated and standing poses. An advanced pose is when both arms reach to the sky at the same time for full half moon pose. Learn how basic postures become the building blocks for advanced practice allowing for creative flow, stretching, and dancing in the wind.
Nicole Burgess pedals throughout San Diego County and daily in Ocean Beach. Burgess recently had an amazing time flying down the hills and climbing the coastline of California from San Francisco to San Diego, practicing the yoga asanas upon a saddle, traveling, exploring with each moment and breath, and dancing in the wind. She encourages others to commute by bike for overall health and stamina, to protect our environments, and for inner peace.
All photos by Troy Orem