I stumbled on road cycling last fall when the hybrid I used to scoot between yoga studios and tour the river on was cut from its lock outside of my house. Being as it was end of season when my beloved bike disappeared, I managed to snag an amazing deal on a demo TREK Emonda SL from Ridley’s bike shop in Kensington.
Road bike vs hybrid
The difference between the two bikes was remarkable. I could ride longer and faster with much more comfort in my body. As a yoga teacher/nerd, this was huge. I’ve become so accustomed to moving painlessly throughout the day that though I loved riding my hybrid, I would often top out at an hour-long ride due to discomfort and fatigue. Being equipped to ride longer and with more ease encouraged me to discover more parts of the city and to move beyond the city limits.
Something else began to happen. I started to develop a strength and endurance that complimented my mat practice. Having been practicing yoga for over ten years and teaching for a little over 6, I’ve spent countless hours in studios as a teacher and student. I’ve always loved movement and expelling energy. Admittedly, in the earlier years my practice I leaned into a dangerous territory of hypermobility. With experience and a lot of trial and error I started to develop my practice and teaching style to incorporate strength and stability in order to provide a more rounded approach to the practice. So when I started to feel tightness in my hips from riding, I was thrilled because I could see that balancing the two activities could optimize my pelvis/hip health.
Fast forward to now my practice is much more balanced but adding cycling into the mix has opened up a whole new avenue for strength development and endurance, as well as new way of syncing my mind and body. Yoga is still my first love but cycling has taken me out of the studio and back into the elements of ever shifting environments. In yoga I speak to being present with ones body, watching how it moves and responds, about how the body speaks a language of instinct and intuition. When I get on my bike, this language is further refined to interact with the mechanics of the bike and the conditions of the pavement. The movement has it’s own meditative quality plus there is opportunity to sincerely experience scenery and surroundings you miss while racing by in a car.
Yoga takes away that back pain
In speaking with avid cyclists who include yoga in their training programs, I’m told that yoga has been key in returning mobility to their bodies, eliminating chronic back pain and enhancing comfort to their ride. Additionally, flexibility is essential for optimal positioning on a bike and breath work can help with mental focus.
Road cycling has caught me a fever
I love alternating between my yoga mat and the saddle, so much so that I’ve decided to combine the two in retreat-style camps, or camp-style retreats – depending on what world you’re coming from – and create a vacation offering that I would seek out. The first collaboration is happening this Winter in Bucerias Mexico, I’d love it if you came!