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Fitness suggestion for 2013: Try yoga

Fitness suggestion for 2013: Try yoga

I’ve been cycling for 40+ years, and have been practicing yoga off and on for the last 6 years. Even though I’m not great at yoga, it has definitely improved my form and fitness on a bike. Okay - it hasn’t turned me into Lance Armstrong. But there is a noticeable improvement in my muscle flexibility, breathing and focus. I can’t say yoga made me faster (age is taking its toll, unfortunately), but I definitely have better posture, a smooth spin, and I’m riding more comfortably. One big benefit of aging is that I now appreciate riding well, and not just riding far and fast.

If you need more convincing, here’s Avalon Yoga Studio’s description for their “Yoga for Athletes” class.

“Many sports place a repetitive and high demand on particular muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury. This class is designed to help athletes of all disciplines balance strength and flexibility throughout the body.  Through a variety of warm-ups, flows and postures you will learn to counteract the negative effects of the repeated contractions and shortening of muscles that occur during sports, and to prevent injuries and discomforts. In addition, building a yoga practice helps to develop the breath, teaches relaxation and focus.“

There are a number of good yoga studios in the area. Studios are a great starting place as you’ll receive more individual attention and a find a greater variety of classes.  Many allow “drop-ins” so you can try a class or two to see if it’s for you. Check with your local studio about their drop-in policy, which class is best suited for you, and whether they provide mats. Let them know that you’re an athlete looking for improved flexibility and focus (as opposed to more strength) so they can recommend the best class for you.

In closing, here's a popular quote from a pro cyclist:

"The real race is not on the hot, paved roads, the torturous off-road course or the smooth-surfaced velodrome. It is in the electrochemical pathways of your mind."
Alexi Grewal

- Jeff

P.S. Here are a few area yoga studios. There are plenty around, so search online if you need more suggestions:

    Catonsville - Avalon Yoga Studio
    Columbia - The Yoga Center of Columbia
    Baltimore City & Towson - Charm City Yoga and Baltimore Yoga Village
    Baltimore City & Westminster - YAMA Studio

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