Yoga for the City Rider: Loose Lower Body

To avoid feeling like you have heavy weights for legs, try these simple yoga stretches before or after a busy ride.

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Pictured: Eye of the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana) Photos by David Niddrie

To avoid feeling like you have heavy weights for legs, try these simple yoga stretches before or after a busy ride. In a yoga sequence, to help counterbalance the amount of standing asana (postures), therapeutic poses are designed to leave one feeling balanced and light. These specific postures were handpicked to target the glutes, thighs, hip flexors, and calf muscles. Hopefully after this stretch combination, your next bike ride will also feel balanced and light.

Eye of the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)

Eye of the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your feet up so your knees are now stacked over your hips and your ankles are in line with your knees. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, so your legs make a number four shape. Let your right thighbone roll open in its socket so your knee widens to the right. Interlace your hands around the back of your left thigh and gently pull it toward you until you feel a stretch in your right hip and glute. Relax your head into the earth and breathe deeply, then switch.

+Benefits: Opens pelvis area and glutes, stretches your outer hip, lengthens your lower back.

One-legged Frog Pose (Eka Pada Bhekasana)

One-legged Frog Pose (Eka Pada Bhekasana)

One-legged Frog Pose (Eka Pada Bhekasana)

Lie on your belly, propped up on your forearms, with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Take your left hand and gently place it on your right wrist so that your left forearm is now parallel with the top of your mat. Look over your right shoulder and bend your right knee, making sure your knee stays behind your hip. Reach back with your right hand and grab your right foot. Pull the foot gently toward your outer right glute, with your foot flexed to stabilize the knee and ankle, until you feel a stretch in your right thigh. Look forward and lift the chest, relaxing your shoulders. Root your thighs and pelvic bone into the floor to support the lower back and to increase the stretch. Hold for a few breaths, release the foot on an exhale, and then switch.

+Benefits: Opens the chest, throat, abdomen, and ankles; strengthens the back muscles; lengthens and stretches the hip flexor and quadriceps.

Half Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)

Half Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)

Half Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)

Begin in a low lunge with your right foot forward and flat on the floor and your back knee down. Inch your left knee back a few times to lengthen your stance. Begin to extend the front leg toward straight, bringing your left hip to stack over your left knee. If this is too much on your hamstring, then bend the front knee as much as you need to. Inhale, pulling your shoulder blades down and lengthening your spine. Exhale and bow your belly and chest over your front leg, hinging from the hips. Place your hands on either side of the leg, onto blocks for support, if you like. Relax your shoulders down your back and continue to draw your breastbone forward to maintain a long spine. Flex your foot, drawing toes toward your shinbone. Breathe into the sensations and then switch sides.

+Benefits: Stretches and opens the hamstrings, thighs, groin, and calf muscle; relieves sciatic pain; lengthens the lower back.


Meet the Teacher

Emily has been teaching yoga in Vancouver since 2009. She draws from her many experiences, taking the best from each to weave art skillfully into her teaching with a rich and heartfelt voice. She is a proud Tonic Lifestyle Apparel ambassador and leads local and international retreats throughout the year under Unity Retreats.

unityretreats.ca | emilymillenyoga.com

Emily is wearing Tonic Lifestyle Apparel mytonic.ca and was photographed at Semperviva Kits Beach semperviva.com

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