Summer is just around the corner. We asked Dryland yoga teachers and partners to share their tips for success.
Here’s how to stay nimble for the most seamless transition from snow to dirt this spring.
Mobility for Mountain Biking
Tips from Breckenridge’s Bhava Yoga owner and founder Jenni Frank
“Strength is the yang; mobility is the yin. We need both to maximize our potential and to prevent injury, especially in the world of athletics,” says Frank, an avid yogi and mountain biker.
5 Poses for Strength, Mobility + Flexibility
1. Rag doll. Standing forward bend with arms on the floor, or elbows interlaced for more intensity. If your hammies are tight, bend your knees as much as you need.
2. High plank pose. Keep the tailbone slightly tucked. it’s tempting after being in the saddle for awhile to get lazy in the core, which leads to an overly lordotic curve in the low back (like you’re sticking your butt out behind you). Train the core to stay ON at all times in order to have a healthier back. It’s a similar action to if someone were going to punch you in the stomach. Keep that on!
3. Pigeon pose. If the face-down variation is too much, lie on your back and do figure 4 instead. Mountain biking requires a lot of glute work; it’s important to stretch those guys out! Make sure to do both sides.
4. Seated bound angle. Sitting, keep the inner side of the feet connected and work to press the outer knees towards the floor. This is great for the inner hips and thighs.
5. Half frog pose. Lie face down and bring your right knee parallel with your hip. Make a 90-degree angle with the right leg so the knee and hip and the knee and ankle are in the same line. Make sure to do both sides.
Yoga for Performance
Tips from Dryland Vail certified yoga teacher Heather Sappenfield
“I had been a cyclist, both road and mountain, for many years when I started yoga, and I was stunned by the ways it enhanced my riding,” says Sappenfield. “From opening my entire body—especially my hips and shoulders—to improving my aerobic capacity, my riding improved. I especially noticed how breathing through uncomfortable poses and gradually learning to do ones that I was afraid of—like headstand and handstand—widened the scope of what I was willing and able to ride technically off road.”
Sappenfield has raced in the MTB National Championships and World Championships. She also was part of a four-woman winning team for road bicycling’s Race Across America (RAAM).
When choosing the right yoga class to complement your two-wheeled adventures, she recommends going for challenging classes and poses to increase your strength, stamina and courage. To help the body recover and “bake in any training,” sign up for yin or restorative classes.
Tips from Dryland Vail certified yoga teacher Kim Fuller
Recovery days and unwinding are just as important in the training game as building strength and mobility. Fuller recommends Elevate Yoga classes at the state-of-the-art Dryland Vail facility.
“Elevate Yoga is a great addition to your day in any season, as it pairs strong movement and transitions with poses that unwind the body and mind,” Fuller says.
In the thick of biking season, Fuller says, it’s ideal to stretch for at least 10 to 15 minutes after every ride (or any extended physical activity, for that matter!) She strength trains two to three times a week and drinks at least 90 ounces of water a day.
“You can prevent injury with intentional work in the yoga studio, certainly,” she says. “But the positive habits you create throughout every day and around ride times truly will help to keep you fit and healthy all season.”