Yoga: Hurts so good

I started doing yoga long before Lululemon tights became de rigeur at shopping malls around the western world – way back in my karate days of the mid 80s. I say ‘yoga’, but what I really was doing was this.

I’ve been doing this little set of postures on and off for 35 years and next to a double espresso, it’s one of the best ways to start your morning. Do a YouTube search for Sun Salutations and I imagine you’ll get a bunch of good choices so you can follow along.

Yoga and I drifted apart only to be reunited again in Nepal and India a few years later. I even stayed at an ashram in Rishikesh à la John, Paul, George and Ringo, but instead of becoming one with my inner yogi, I got a bad case of Delhi Belly.

In the early 2000s I visited India again and bought a giant paperback about yoga that I read on the beach in Goa and tried to integrate the stuff I could understand after I returned to Japan. When yoga got popular I lost interest, but I don’t know if the two are tied or whether that’s just a coincidence.

I never gave up my Sun Salutations and it was only a matter of time before I rediscovered the rest. And so it was, the other night I found a ‘deep stretch yoga’ video by the queen of online yoga courses – Adriene. The video is 45 minutes long and the stretches really did go ‘deep’, mainly because poses are held for such long periods. The next morning I woke up with a headache and general malaise that stayed with me much of the whole day. Excellent!

That evening I felt better so I decided to start a 30-day ‘yoga journey’ that I found on Adriene’s site. This ‘Invite’ video was another 45 min or so and the following morning, as soon as I got out of bed, I had this crazy dizziness that followed me around for at least a couple of hours. That’s when I knew I was onto something good!

Have you ever experienced this sort of thing? If you’ve had a deep tissue massage, a good, solid reflexology treatment, or even a ‘de-blocking’ by an Osteo, you might feel ‘off’ for some time afterwards. This is usually good news because those ol’ toxins are getting flushed out of your dirty, dirty body.

How does this relate to cycling? The other thing I noticed after the 2nd video was that my breathing on the bike yesterday was very deep and ‘clear’. I also felt more ‘settled’ on my 5-hr ride, too – not as stiff as I’ve been lately. Unfortunately I didn’t see any extra watts, but maybe there’s a video for that, too. I’ll let you know.

I’m not sure yoga is back in my life or not, but there’s something about Adriene and her videos (9 million YouTube subscribers can’t be wrong) that makes me want to see what’s up for the next 29 days. It’s a hell of a lot more interesting than Dry January, I can tell you that.


4 thoughts on “Yoga: Hurts so good

  1. Hey Gerry, I too got into yoga when I was a student in N. India: the moving meditation aspect was the easiest way to find some sort of tranquility amid the urban bustle of Jaipur.

    As someone who’s a bit too flexible (a big reason behind my current situation), for me the biggest bike benefit on the yoga has been just what you mentioned, the focus on deep breathing through your entire body as well as engaging the ‘uddiyanna bandha’ (the transverse abdominus), both so very helpful for climbing, and the latter great for protecting my lower back for just about anything.

    Also, it’s just good to move your limbs in a few more different directions than you get to do while riding, road riding especially!


    • You’re certainly right about moving your limbs in different directions. I’ve been off the martial arts more or less for a long while now (need to buy an apartment with a dojo next time) and cycling, however great, is pretty ‘linear’. Have you been doing yoga since coming to France?

  2. All of the above and more. We don’t move in different ways riding a bike as many of us do. I randomly visited Adriene’s YouTube channel. Her 30 day videos are great. She has a non-yoga way of leading, highly recommend for use tight cycles. Thanks for the reminder. Rubber side down!

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