Yoga ON the Bike

Last week’s webinar presentation was an interesting experience. I shooed Wes and the girls out of the house and sat at my desk, facing my computer, talking to people I couldn’t see or even receive a reaction from. (This last point is not necessarily true of all webinars; because I work on a Mac, I had some limitations.) It felt a lot like my former work as a radio announcer, and I found myself clicking back into some of the habits I developed over those six years. I tapped my foot slowly to help slow down my speech; I turned away from the mike to clear my throat or sip water. I did not, however, put on a twenty-minute Ornette Coleman tune so I could duck out and smoke a Camel, as I used to do!

At the end of the hour, I took some questions from the participants. One of the many good questions was whether there were yoga poses appropriate for practice on the bike. Indeed. I like to do a clipped-in version of pyramid pose by standing on the pedals and hinging forward from the hips. This yields a hip and hamstring stretch in the front leg and a calf stretch in the back leg if you drop that heel (carefully, and of course all of this depends on your pedal system). I used this picture, the mock cover of my forthcoming book, to illustrate the pose. Caution: do not attempt this arm position on the bike!!!

It struck me only later that cat-cow, articulating the spine, is also a good, safe bit of yoga to do on the bike. You can try it sitting or standing: just tip your pelvis backward and spread your upper back for cat, then move in the other direction—tailbone high, belly and chest forward, shoulders low—for cow.
And naturally, a mindful approach to what’s happening in the moment is useful, even critical on the bike, as is breathing. Both of these are important elements of yoga.
Anyone have any other recommendations of on-the-bike yoga?
If you missed the webinar, I’ll be giving a repeat presentation of it at a time that should be more convenient for those of you on the West Coast: 8:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 19. You can read more about it and find a link to sign up on my Workshops page. While there, check out the other offerings I have this spring: next weekend’s retreat to Kripalu; a newly-added Yoga for Runners workshop in Carrboro (at which we’ll break down five short post-run yoga routines, so folks are really confident in practicing them on their own); and a workshop on how to relax for peak performance, tied to correspond with the MAP Triathlon outside Charlotte, NC. If you’d like a monthly description of my clinics and workshops, please sign up for my newsletter by using the form in the sidebar.

3 Responses to “Yoga ON the Bike”

  1. owltree says:

    I love your blog! I am a yoga instructor and personal trainer and did my first sprint tri last summer. I’m planning on doing at least six more tri’s this season (I live in Maine, so our season is short).
    As far as yoga on the bike, what about a modified pigeon (for the external rotators out there, at least)? One foot stays clipped, while the other leg comes up and rests on the bike frame or handle bars, targeting the outer hip.

  2. Sage says:

    Whee! On the trainer, sure. I haven’t got the confidence to do that rolling, though I know some people who do.

    Nice to meet you, virtually!

  3. owltree says:

    Oh, the trainer/spin bike, for sure! I don’t think I’d recommend doing that on the open road! My boys on the other hand would be all over that (and more) on their bikes!