How Yoga has Aided Me on My Cycling Journey 

How Yoga has Aided Me on My Cycling Journey by Clifton Yeo

Hey avid cyclists! Who said the only way to get better was to keep practicing at the sport?
Clifton Yeo from Freedom Yoga shares how yoga is a fantastic complimentary activity for cycling. Read on!

a brief introduction about myself

Hello! My name is Clifton Yeo,  and I am a yoga instructor at Freedom Yoga. Here’s a brief introduction about me: I’m currently fresh into my thirties - I started out 4 years a casual yogi, a serious yoga nerd for another 5, and an avid cyclist for the past 6 years.

Throughout my cycling journey, yoga has been a fantastic complementary activity that enabled me to:

1) Increase my flexibility and range of motion to get more power out of each pedal

2) Keep my muscles supple and improve my alignment to prevent injuries

3) Build core strength, improve my endurance, and feel less sore during and after long rides (especially that lower back!)

4) Breathe mindfully to maintain energy, and stay relaxed and focused on the saddle

5) Recover faster through active and passive stretches

Yoga has helped me to become a stronger cyclist, and I’d love to share 5 yoga poses to aid you on your own cycling journey! 

Pose #1: Cat & Cow Pose 

A versatile and essential pose sequence that you can do pre- and post-ride to warm up your spine and release any tension, while conditioning you to mindfully flow with your breath.

1. Start in Tabletop position with neutral spine
a. Wrists, elbows, and shoulders stacked in one straight line
b. Hips stacked above ankles, toes tucked into the ground

2. Flow into Cow Pose by inhaling and arching your back, dropping your belly towards the ground
a. Lift your chin to gaze up gently
b. Spread your shoulder blades with and push shoulders away from ears
c. Continue pushing strongly into the ground with your hands

3. Flow into Cat Pose by exhaling and rounding your back, drawing belly to spine
a. Look towards your belly button
b. Spread your shoulder blades wide and send the middle of your upper back upwards to the sky
c. Continue pushing strongly into the ground with your hands

4. Inhale to flow back into Cow Pose again, and exhale to flow into Cat Pose

5. Repeat Cat-Cow as many times as you need, remembering to always flow with your breath

How Yoga has Aided Me on My Cycling Journey by Clifton Yeo
How Yoga has Aided Me on My Cycling Journey by Clifton Yeo

Pose #2: Downward Dog Pose 

An essential pre- and post-ride pose that stretches your hamstrings and calves, strengthens your upper body and core, and opens your chest and shoulders (after all that hunching over your handlebars). 

1. Start in High Plank position
a. Wrists, elbows, and shoulders stacked in one straight line
b. Toes pushing strongly into the ground 

2. Push into your hands, and exhale to send your hips up and back to form the upside-down “V” shape
a. Micro-bend your knees if your hamstrings are tight or your lower back is rounded
b. Focus on sending your chest towards your knees, to lift your hips
higher
c. If you have the flexibility, straighten both legs and ground your heels 3. Externally rotate your shoulders and broaden through your chest 

4. On each inhale, push your hands strongly into the ground; and with each exhale, send your hips back and up even more

Pose #3: Pigeon Pose 

After a long ride, this is my go-to pose to stretch out my hips, glutes, and lower back to reduce soreness and speed up my recovery. 

1. Start in Downward Dog pose
 
2. Bend and send your right leg forward, with your right knee behind your right wrist
a. Keep your right foot flexed
b. You can keep your right leg bent (shin does not need to be parallel to the front of your mat) 

3. Walk your left leg all the way back and lower your pelvis down to the ground 

4. Make sure that your hips are level and squared to the mat (body is not collapsing to either side)
a. Place a block or pillow underneath your right hip if it is too far from the ground 

5. Stay supported on your hands for a few breaths, breathing into your right hip

6. Inhale to extend spine, exhale to lean forward into a pigeon forward fold 

7. Keep breathing into your right hip, and relax your body 

8. Push back into Downward Dog and repeat on the other side 

How Yoga has Aided Me on My Cycling Journey by Clifton Yeo
How Yoga has Aided Me on My Cycling Journey by Clifton Yeo

Pose #4: Twisted Monkey 

A deep stretch for your hip flexors and quadriceps, while releasing the tension built up in your lower spine after a long ride. 

1. Start in Downward Dog 

2. Step your right foot forward into low lunge, with left knee grounded 3. Bend your left knee and squeeze your left heel to your bum. 

4. Inhale to extend spine, and exhale to twist your torso to the right. Sweep right hand behind to grab your left foot from the outer edge 

5. Pull left foot towards your bum; if needed, shift your hips back more so that left foot can touch your bum 

6. Push into left hand; lean chest forward and open chest to the right to deepen stretch on left thigh 

7. Option to deepen the pose by coming down into your left forearm 8. Return to Downward Dog and repeat on other side

Pose #5: Supine Spinal Twist 

Another post-ride favourite of mine to release all the tension in my lower back. You can also do this as a pre-ride stretch to warm up your spine with some twists.

1. Start in lying down position 

2. Squeeze your left leg straight, and exhale to bend your right knee, interlace your fingers in front of your right shin, and pull your right knee towards your chest
a. Keep both feet pointed 

3. Stay for a few breaths here. With each exhale, pull your right knee even closer towards your chest 

4. Use your left hand to grab your right knee, and pull the knee over to the left side
a. Make sure right shoulder blade remains firmly planted into the ground b. Right knee does not to touch the floor on the left side
c. Gently look over towards the right side 

5. Stay for a few more breaths here. With each exhale, deepen your twist by pulling your right knee even closer towards the ground 

6. Inhale to come back to centre, and switch sides to repeat on the other side

How Yoga has Aided Me on My Cycling Journey by Clifton Yeo

See you on the mat (and on the roads/park connectors). Ride Safe!

Join Clifton on Decathlon's Facebook page as he conducts yoga livestream classes specially designed for cyclists. Save these dates!

Sat 06-19 | Yoga Basics: Mid-Year Reset for Mind & Body | 9AM - 10AM
Sun 06-20 | Yoga for Cyclists | 6PM - 7PM

How Yoga has Aided Me on My Cycling Journey by Clifton Yeo

written by: clifton yeo

yoga instructor, freedom yoga

4 years a casual yogi, a serious yoga nerd for another 5, and an avid cyclist for the past 6 years. Keeping up with this sweat life, I’ve learnt more and more about my body and how to keep these gears well-oiled so they run well into my sunset years.