The Missing Piece: Making Yin Yoga your Recovery Strategy

Off season training has started.  And with it comes a strategy checklist of what you’re supposed to be doing:

  1. Training plan consisting of TrainerRoad (what I use), Training Peaks, CTS, Zwift or various GCN YouTube training videos – check.
  2. Nutrition – low acidity, alkali diet consisting organics, nuts, vegetables , fruits and some fish with little to no red meat – check.
  3. Cross-train with functional exercises and weight training – check.
  4. Reading books to refine your playbook if you’re a competitive cyclist – check.

That’s it, right?

What’s missing?

For you type-A personalities, which is most of you, because you wouldn’t be planning all of this if you didn’t want to improve, there’s one key factor you haven’t thought about.

What is your recovery regiment?

What’s that you say?  You don’t have one?

What if your rest consists of focused, intentional rest that will benefit your body ten-fold?  What if that rest was also a prelude to building a foundation for increased flexibility, to rejuvenate and restore your connective tissues all the while your muscles recover?

What if I told you that Yin Yoga is the key to being a better cyclist?

While I’m no coach, I am experienced in what works and what doesn’t when it comes to training strategies.  It’s taken a few years to experiment and refine my approaches, and the one thing I found was that without Yin Yoga, I wouldn’t be able to train or race at a higher level at my age group.  I was introduced to this practice over three years ago and I haven’t stopped.

With the amount of ferocious movement in racing and training, your mind, body and soul needs something different to keep your sanity.  When you have a practice like Yin Yoga that contrasts to your “always on” mentality, something spectacular happens:

  • You feel rested;
  • You feel the stillness;
  • You become grounded in your body;
  • You become more aware;
  • You gain control over your nerves;
  • You feel relaxed, restored, rejuvenated;
  • You are calm and balanced in your mind – crucial in key moments of a race or sprint for bragging rights;
  • You have balance to the internal organs and improved flow of Qi (Chi) or Prana through Meridian stimulation.

And your cycling activity improves:

  • You can handle more training stress (TSS);
  • You can do stages races (Killington Stage Race) and multi-day rides (Trek Across Maine) more effectively with less pain and stiffness;
  • You output more power and become more efficient;
  • You get into the zone more often.

In essence:

“Yin Yoga strengthens the connective tissues and lubricates the joints.  The objective is to reduce the amount of fixation caused by poor posture or repetitive yang movement such as cycling.  By doing Yin Yoga, you increase flexibility and support for yang activities.  This increase in flexibility means you can get lower and more aerodynamic in your body position on the bicycle, making you faster.  Certain poses alleviate chronic muscle problems such as lower back pain, aggravated by long rides in fixed positions.”

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What do you think?  Will you make recovery focused and intentional?  Just add it to your checklist:

5.  Yin Yoga for recovery.

Starting January 2018, join me Wednesday evenings at 5:45pm at Metta Studios in Biddeford for Yin Yoga for Athletes.

UPDATE:  Since September 2018, I’m currently teaching Yin Yoga at The Sunshine Factory in South Portland, Sundays at 5:30pm.

 

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