All this cycling I have been doing has made me ever more mindful of the way my body works, what muscles I'm using, how I'm holding myself.
I do love my bike ride to and from work each day (although it wasn't a whole heap of fun in the snow this morning), but I'm not sure it does an awful lot for my tight hamstrings and crooked back.
When I get home in the evening, if I don't go to a yoga class on the way, I do some yoga at home. I've devised a little yoga sequence that's particularly suitable for my bicycle weary bones that I thought I'd share. Sometimes I do more than this, but this is my minimum. I hope you like it! Once again I've done links to Yoga Journal pictures - don't worry too much about looking like that. I don't!
I begin with the centring and kneeling saluation practices described in this post.
Then a few rounds of a sun salutation of your choice if you like.
Hold the downward dogs for longer and longer to really stretch into the hamstrings and shoulders, both of which get tight on a bike. Try coming down onto forearms for downward dog, or bending the knees and drawing the chest nearer to the thighs.
Vrkasana followed by Garudasana (legs only, hands in prayer position) - at least 5 breaths in each pose on each side. This rotates the hips in both directions loosening them up from that bike ride!
Paddotanasana - 10 breaths, you can start with the knees slightly bent and then straighten them as you breath into posture.
Triknonasana - 5 breaths to each side
Uttanasana - bent or straight knees - 10 breaths
Return to kneeling
Utrasana - 3 x 5 breaths each. This really opens out the chest and shoulders - I often find my posture on the bike ride home isn't that much better than my posture at my desk!
NB - people with back problems (like me) might want to try "baby camel". Instead of trying to reach the heels just keep the hands on the small of the back, push the hips forward and open the chest by drawing the shoulderblades and elbows towards each other.
Child's pose for as long as you need.
Janu Sirsasana - 5 breaths to each side
Pachiomottanasana - 5-10 breaths
Lie down on the back and hug the knees into the chest
Later in the week I hope to do a sequence for all you runners and walkers out there!