Dave Mcinnes shares his favourite yoga poses to help keep you nim­ble on the trails!

Mountain Bike for Her - - Front Page - Words & Pho­tos By Ash Kelly

If what you love about moun­tain bik­ing is the adren­a­line, speed, or in­her­ent risk, it stands to rea­son that yoga may not be high on your list of things to do. A grow­ing num­ber of tes­ti­mo­ni­als sug­gest yoga and moun­tain bik­ing are less oil and wa­ter than one might as­sume. Pro­fes­sional rider, coach, and cer­ti­fied yoga teacher, Lor­raine Blancher says prac­tic­ing yoga daily brings bal­ance to her out­door life­style. “I think of yoga as body main­te­nance; main­tain­ing full range of mo­tion of your joints. If you can main­tain full range of mo­tion of your joints, add a strong core so you have struc­tural align­ment. If you main­tain, de­velop, and in­crease that, it’s go­ing to make your rid­ing bet­ter,” says Blancher. Yoga classes gen­er­ally cost $15 to $20 to drop in, and up to $150 a month for a membership, which means they just aren’t ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one. Blancher says it can be help­ful to go to a few classes to learn the ba­sics and make sure your pos­ture and align­ment are cor­rect, but af­ter that she says work­ing on your per­sonal prac­tice at home is a great way to in­crease strength and flex­i­bil­ity. “You don’t need to go to an or­ga­nized class just like you don’t go moun­tain bik­ing in group rides all the time. It’s cool to go when you want to go, but some­times just go­ing for that solo ride or with one or two friends is what you want,” says Blancher. Af­ter four years of do­ing yoga, North Van­cou­ver rider, BC Cup down­hill racer and owner of Bi­cy­cle Hub ser­vice only

bike shop, Dave McInnes says yoga has had a mas­sive im­pact on his rid­ing.

“Yoga has helped me strengthen my core and fine mo­tor con­trol mus­cles, has im­proved my flex­i­bil­ity, and given me valu­able men­tal tools like med­i­ta­tion and fo­cus, which have all helped my rac­ing and rid­ing. Phys­i­cally, I have no­ticed a huge dif­fer­ence in my rid­ing po­si­tion and strength, es­pe­cially over longer cour­ses or tracks. Cor­ner­ing and ped­alling ben­e­fit di­rectly from the strength yoga has given me,” says McInnes.

Blancher says up­per body and core strength are ma­jor fac­tors in pre­vent­ing crashes from hap­pen­ing in the first place. Hav­ing the abil­ity to be strong on the bike and re­cover from mis­takes keeps the rider up­right and away from ma­jor ac­ci­dents. When a crash does hap­pen, hav­ing good flex­i­bil­ity can mean less se­vere in­juries

and faster heal­ing times.

While the benefits are be­com­ing more widely ac­cepted in the out­door com­mu­nity, the word yoga can still in­voke a level of skep­ti­cism in some cir­cles.

“Yoga - the word kind of gets used like the word or­ganic, but like or­ganic it’s noth­ing. It be­came trendy and peo­ple like to trash on it, but or­ganic is noth­ing new . . . it’s kind of been skewed. That’s how I feel Yoga is. Take the word Yoga and make it what­ever you want. Just think of it as body main­te­nance; main­tain range of mo­tion in your two main joints: your hips and shoul­ders and then get­ting your core strong.” says Blancher.

Lu­l­ule­mon am­bas­sador Ryan Leech gave yoga a try at the be­hest of his friends who sug­gested it would help him with his in­juries. In his video From the Moun­tains to the Mat Leech ex­plains how yoga has im­proved his health and his cy­cling.

Rid­ing con­stantly can cre­ate mus­cle im­bal­ances, such as over de­vel­oped ham­strings, tight calves or lower backs, which can make the first few yoga classes dif­fi­cult and in­tim­i­dat­ing. To get you started, Dave McInnes takes us through a few poses he found ben­e­fi­cial early in his prac­tice.

Dis­claimer: Con­sult­ing a cer­ti­fied yoga in­struc­tor can be an im­por­tant first step to en­sure the pre­ven­tion of in­jury, es­pe­cially at the be­gin­ning of your prac­tice. If you feel any pain, stop im­me­di­ately.

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