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Downward Dog Yoga Sequence for Cyclists

March 7, 2011

The Argus is one of those events loved by most Capetonians and cylcists from all around the world. For those who are into cycling and enjoy the fast passed sport they may enjoy the following downward dog sequence to help relieve tightness in the calves, hamstrings, glutes, back, shoulders and neck. Following a basic yoga routine can help to improve flexibility and balance as well as prevent injury and strain in both the long and the short term.
To start, ensure that the body is warm, so ideally practise the postures after a training session.
To bring a sense of balance to the body, start to release the quadriceps with a simple Dancer pose. Ground through your right leg, draw the left leg back and hold onto the ankle or foot with your left hand. Ensure that your pelvis is even and that your knees are drawn in and are in alignment. Lift the chest and draw the left arm up towards the sky. The more you draw the foot towards the buttocks and focus on pushing the knee in the direction of the ground, the deeper you will take the stretch.
After 5 rounds of breathing change sides.

Downward dog sequence.
Start off on your knees, in Extended Child Pose, with your buttocks resting on your heels, your arms extended out in front of you. Feel the lengthening effect and release along the spine. Take a moment here to settle the body and mind.

When you are ready, inhale as you slide and lift the torso off the ground into Chakravakasana, the Cat Stretch, with the spine slightly arched, releasing tension along the spine.

Exhale and lift up into Adho Mukha Svanasana, the Downward Facing Dog. Keep the knees bent, and cycle your legs slowly, alternating bending and straightening each leg in turn.

After 5 deep rounds of breathing, inhale into Plank, working with strengthening the arms and shoulders.

Exhale and drop the knees to the mat, take the buttocks backwards so that you go back to Extended Child Pose again. From here, inhale into Cat Stretch again, this time as you exhale lift up into Downward Facing Dog and lengthen through your spine, straighten your legs or keeping knees bent if need be to keep the alignment of the spine.

Look under the right armpit for 5 breaths, then the left, then look towards the navel. Inhale to Plank, and continue with the sequence, the next time you are in Adho Mukha Svanasana,

lift your right leg up to a 90 degree angle, for 5 breaths, keeping pelvis in alignment, then lift the left leg for 5 breaths.

Complete one more sequence and work with a twisting Dog, taking the left hand towards the right foot/ankle for 5 breaths and then switch over to the other side.

Be sure to rest in Savasana, the corpse pose for a few minutes after this sequence to settle and balance the body and energy.
Always take caution when working with the body in yoga postures and consult an experienced yoga teacher to ensure postures are done correctly and are adjusted for your physical needs if necessary.

_______________________________________________

Nina Saacks a yoga teacher and publishing editor of YAA. www.saacks.com | info@yogaaa.co.za
Photographs by Saskia – www.serenityyoga.co.za

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