Finding happiness and balance on my mat

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I have been practicing yoga off and on for several years. Historically, I find myself back on the mat when my life is in chaos. Unfortunately, I have yet to stay consistent with my practice. I wait until the ball drops  then come back to yoga to put the pieces back together. Recently, I have been dealing with a lot of stress. I was feeling lost and was ready to give up on most of the things I have been working to build over the past year.  I was to the point where I was about ready to give up on racing. I went back to yoga hoping to find direction.

Yoga isn’t about becoming more flexibleOPY

When I first started practicing yoga, I did so for the workout. The more I practiced though, I realized it is more about the spiritual aspect than the physical aspect. Yoga has taught me to be present. In our society, we are always concerned about the future and forget to be mindful about the here and now. My yoga practice has helped me to let go the of past. I cannot change the past so it it pointless beat myself about the, “would have, should haves.” Yoga fosters acceptance and honesty.

Yoga for cyclists

I recommend yoga for everyone, but I think yoga is a great supplement to any cyclist’s training plan. Our bodies adapt to the stresses placed upon it. Unfortunately, if you spend the majority of your time bent over a bike your body also adapt to this. Over the past year or so, I have spent a significantly more amount of time on my bike and have noticed changes in my body. My hip musculature has become extremely tight.  I generally forego my strength training workouts and opt instead for a ride which has resulted in significant strength loss.  There are yoga poses that take a significant amount of lower body strength. I can ride 70 miles, but if you ask me told hold chair pose for 30 seconds I am a shaking uncontrollably. Yoga also teaches you to endure discomfort. When you hold a difficult pose for a sustained about of time, your body beg you to get out of the pose. With practice, you learn to be an observer of  emotions and can separate your physical self from your emotional self. This is a great skill for cyclists. I know there have been plenty of times that my legs have been burning and all I want to do is to give up. You learn to endure this discomfort and to keep hammering away.

Anyone can benefit from yoga

Whether you are an elite athlete or are trying to make better lifestyle choices, yoga has a place in everyone’s life. Yoga has taught me to accept who I am. It has taught me to be present which I think an important attribute for today’s society. I continue to strive to put forth energy into changing the present, as that is the only thing you can control. As a cyclist, I appreciate the balance that yoga has brought to my body and mind.  I hope to continue to make yoga a regular practice in my life.

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