Five Reasons Why Hot Yoga is Great for Mountain Bikers

Amazing flexibility and stretching a pose

Like myself, most of the mountain bikers  I know are diehard cyclists and can't wait for that time in the day to sneak out for a nice ride.  They are mentally strong people and very determined and goal-oriented.  Every log pile, steep climb and creek crossing is a challenge. Going for a bike ride requires  several hours  of sweating and heart pounding energy.  Then, it is time to shower the dirt off and get on with the rest of life.   There usually is no time for stretching.   So here is where Bikram Yoga, also known as   Hot Yoga, can help.

 Bikram Yoga,  like all the other Yogas,  provides many valuable physical and mental benefits. But, Bikram Yoga is different, and it is the perfect match for diehard athletes like  mountain  bikers.  Here are the  five reasons why Hot Yoga is so great for us.

1.  Cyclists tend to have a strong and tight muscles and it is hard to get them to stretch well with a couple of regular exercises.  In  Bikram Yoga, the room is so hot and humid that those tight muscles  warm up quickly and deeply  making it much easier to get the stretching that will make a difference in  performance when on the mountain  bike.  

2.  Besides the benefit of additional flexibility in muscles, joints, and back, Bikram also helps to increase mental stamina and endurance.   Just the environment alone is challenging in and of itself.  Being in a 105º F room with 40% humidity for 90 minutes requires a mind-over-matter attitude to  just stay in the room, never mind the 26 postures that the practice includes.

3.  Bikram Yoga re-oxygenates the body. The breathing exercises at the beginning, during and  end of practice have a deep and powerful impact on your health.  In addition, learning to take a deep breath before attempting a challenging obstacle is a great tool to employ on every mountain bike ride.

4.  Hot Yoga reconnects the mind with the body.   Practicing yoga on regular basis increases awareness of bodily changes such as dehydration, poor posture on the bike due to fatigue and low energy levels from inadequate nutrition to name a few. By noticing these changes sooner rather than later we can avoid the dreaded "bonk" that can stop us dead in our tracks.

5. And last but not least, another benefit of Bikram Yoga is the achievement of moments of meditation.   Progressing and achieving more control of the 26 poses causes the  mind to quiet down and concentrate in each and every pose.  Concentrating more on breathing in the pose helps all thoughts averse to quieting your mind  go away.  Your mind stays in the room with your body and does not travel away to think about all the stressors in your life.  On an epic mountain bike ride, staying focused on the trail and in the moment is a similar experience and one of the main reasons why I cherish my time on the bike so much.

At the end of class, along with the sweat comes a feeling of detoxification and purifying of the body, The mind is  more quiet and  less stressed and ready to embrace  the challenges of life.  For mountain bikers, I consider Bikram Yoga a perfect match.  Both allow us to be in touch with the incredible world around us and  give us  a sense of freedom and many moments of contemplation and peace.  That is why I say, try it, you'll like it!


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