"Dealing with lower back pain, aching knees, screaming thighs, sore wrists, and neck discomfort might have you questioning your Spinning. Yoga can help release those areas that get tight and painful from spinning. And yoga can strengthen the areas that get overlooked, like your core, when you're on your bike. A little bit of yoga can mean a lot more happy days of cycling!"

Table - Cat/Cow

yoga for low back pain www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

Plant your hands beneath your shoulders with creases of the wrist parallel to the top of your mat. Press finger pads and the four corners of the hand (mound of the index finger, inner heel of the hand, mound of the pinky finger, outer heel of the hand) firmly into the mat. Exhale through your nose, draw your belly in, round your back, and relax your head. Inhale through the nose, roll the sit bones to the sky, soften the belly, soften between the shoulder blades, and look up. Go back and forth 5 times.

 

How it helps spinners:

Releases lower back pain and upper back tension. Improve neck and spine flexibility. Strengthen and open wrists.


Variations on Table

yoga for wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

Prepare your hands and wrists in table position - press the four corners of the hands and finger pads actively into the floor. It is important to activate the muscles on the under side of the wrist and forearm. As you move through the poses, avoid any burning sensation, and make sure you work your hands, engage the muscles, breathe deeply, and only move as far as your body and breath will allow. When you're ready turn your hands out to 90 degrees, facing the edge of your mat. Claw the mat. After 5 deep breaths, if you're feeling safe, rotate your arms so your fingers point back towards your knees. Claw the mat. To make it less intense, walk your knees forwards and shift your shoulders towards the front of your mat. Keep working those hands! 

How it helps spinners:

Avoid common wrist problems that come from a prolonged time of holding handlebars. Create space and release for the neck.


Frog Dog and Downward Facing Dog

yoga poses for spinners and cyclists. Release tight calves, hamstrings, and find relief for sore backs and necks. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

From table position, keep your arms strong, soften between your shoulder blades, and lift your hips high to the sky. Now bend both knees ten inches, lift your heels high, roll your sit bones to the sky, and look between your hands. Keeping knees bent, push the floor down and away, lengthening from the base of your heart up to your hips. Work to bring the top of your sacrum in towards the body, supporting the lower back curve.

Now slowly stretch the outer hips back and the legs straight. Relax your head, lining up your ears with your arms. Keep your feet hip distance and parallel. Draw the lower belly in slightly and root from your sit bones down towards your heels. (Don't force your heels to the floor. Instead keep weight in the ball of your foot. That way it would be possible to lift your toes away from the floor if the mood struck you, but it's not necessary!)

How it helps spinners:

Avoid achilles tendon injuries. Open tight calves and hamstrings. Release tight neck and shoulders. Reduce lower back pain. Strengthen upper body, hands, and wrists.


Low Lunge Variations

Crosstrain with Yoga for Spinners, Cyclists, Runners. Reduce fatigue in tight thighs, (quadriceps) and let go of tight hip flexors. Lower back pain relief. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

From a forward bend, step your right leg back and lower your knee to the floor. Keeping feet hip's distance wide, make sure your front foot and knee are facing forward. Back toes can be curled under for more balance or pointed to take the pressure off the knee. Hug the legs towards one another for balance.

To strengthen your neck, interlace your fingers and place your palms at the base of your skull. With elbows bent, draw your under arms back, your shoulder blades towards one another and down your back. Press your head into your hands and your hands into your head, while gently lengthening from the base of your skull to the crown of your head. Look to the sky. Take 5 deep breaths. Switch sides.

To open tight hip flexors and thighs, reach both arms to the sky. Hold onto your right wrist. Keep your left outer hip tacked back, so your knee stays facing forward and hips square. Keeping the right arm in socket, use your left hand to lengthen your right arm to the sky. Scoop the tailbone and lengthen from your lower belly out through your legs. Lengthen from the belly up through your arms, even as you relax your shoulder blades down your back. Take 5 breaths. Switch sides.

How it helps spinners:

Alleviate neck pain and lower back pain. Strengthen your neck and upper back. Release tight thighs (quadriceps and hip flexors).


Bird Dog - Table Variations

Strengthen wrists, core, and back with bird dog.  www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

From table lift your left leg directly up and parallel to the ground. Keep your foot hip height (if you lift your foot too high, your core won't fire and your lower back will get achy). Spread your left toes, hug your thighs towards each other, scoop your tailbone, gently draw your lower belly in and extend your right arm forward. Hold for 3 breaths and then switch sides.

For a variation, come into bird dog, keep your left toes and knee facing the floor, then widen your left leg 4 inches to the left. You can also widen your right arm to the right 4 inches. Hold for 2 breaths and then draw leg and arm back to center. Repeat this 4 more times on the left side and then switch sides.

How it helps spinners:

Strengthen gluteus medius, core (transverse abdominals), and wrists, areas that cycling overlooks.


Plank Pose

Strengthen your core, protect yourself from lower back pain. Strengthen gluteus medius (hip stablizers) and keep lower back pain and knee pain at bay.  www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

If you can do the Bird Dog Pose with ease, try this one. In plank pose, draw the lower belly in, knit the ribcage to the sky, soften between the shoulder blades, all while you press the four corners of your hands into the floor and keep arms straight and strong.

Keep your core strong and lift your left foot 6 inches off the ground. Spread your left toes, even as you hug the thighs towards each other for balance. Then slowly widen your left leg 4 inches to the left (keeping knee and toes pointing down), hold for 2 breaths, draw your leg back to center. Repeat if you can maintain a strong core. Then switch sides.

How it helps spinners:

Strengthen gluteus medius, core (transverse abdominals), and wrists, areas that cycling overlooks.


Side Plank

Strengthen gluteus medius, core, and arms with this yoga pose - side plank/vasisthasana. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

From plank pose, lift your hips to downward facing dog. Pivot onto the outer edge of your left foot and stack your right foot on top. Flex your feet and spread your pinky toes. Notice that my left hand is a little in front of my left shoulder (avoid stacking shoulder over wrist - this will cause wrist and shoulder discomfort). Press the 4 corners of the hand actively into the floor.

For extra spice, lift your right leg off the left and extend your right arm to the sky. Toes and fingers spreading, it's quirky but it really helps you balance! Take 3 breaths and then switch sides.

How it helps spinners:

Strengthen upper body, core, hips, and wrists.


Hero Pose

Yoga for healthy knees, avoid knee pain, open tight thighs, relieve lower back pain. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

Props can make this pose accessible and fun to do! Have a blanket and yoga block nearby. If you don't have a block, a pillow or thick book can work!

Begin by kneeling. Keep your knees beneath your hips and widen your feet a little wider than your hips. Point the feet directly behind you. Imagine a line from the center of your heel to the second toe. You want that line to point directly back. Avoid sickling the feet here. Place your hands at the top of your calves and iron them back towards your feet, as you slowly lower your bottom towards the floor. Settle your bottom snugly between your heels and place your hands on your thighs. Scoop your tailbone and sit tall. Take 5 breaths.

If the tops of your feet and ankles are hurting, place a blanket beneath the top of the foot and ankle. If your bottom does not come down to the floor or you feel too much stretch on the knees and thighs, place your block beneath your bottom. 

If you are doing well and your bottom is on the floor, place your hands behind you and slowly lean back. Over time you can lower to your elbows and eventually rest all the way down on the floor. This is a backbend, so your lower back should not touch the floor. As you extend your arms alongside your ears, move the sides of your ribs towards the floor, and lengthen from your tailbone out towards your knees.

How it helps spinners:

Keep your knees healthy and improve your posture with Hero Pose! Release tight thighs, open ankles, and release your tight back.


Shoulder Stretch Series

Avoid texting neck, sore neck from cycling or spinning. A quick pick me up after long drive or hours at the computer. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

Standing tall, feet hip distance wide and parallel, interlace your fingers behind your back. If your fingers can't find one another, hold a belt. Bend the arms slightly, lengthen from the hips to the underarms, draw the head of your shoulders back. Slowly stretch your arms straight. Make sure to keep the sides of your ribcage and sides of your neck moving back, all while lengthening your tailbone towards the floor.

Then bend your arms and slowly draw your hands towards your right waistline (they may only come to the small of your lower back, that's okay). Gently squeeze the elbows towards each other and lower your right ear to right shoulder. Actively move the sides of your ribs back into your left forearm as you lengthen your tailbone towards the floor. Take 3 breaths and switch sides.

Next, with your arms behind you, hold opposite elbows. Continue to stand tall and draw the head of your shoulders back.

If you did the previous shoulder stretch with ease, try reverse prayer position. With your arms behind you, bring your palms together, fingers facing the floor. With bent elbows, gently turn your fingers towards your back and rotate your hands so fingers soon face the sky. Press the heels of the hands toward one another. Draw the shoulder blades towards each other and down the back. Take 3 breaths.

 

How it helps spinners:

Say goodbye to neck pain, open tight chest muscles, improve breathing, release tight shoulders, strengthen upper back, stretch the wrists. Avoid the runner's hunch.


Pyramid Pose

Release tight hamstrings, strengthen upper back, release tight IT band, open tight calves, strengthen core. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

It's nice to have 2 yoga blocks or a chair. Standing at the top of your mat, step your right foot back about 2 1/2 feet. Angle your back foot slightly and keep your feet hip's distance wide. Square your hips to the front of your mat and with a long spine, slowly reach your hands to your blocks or chair. Press the mound of the left big toe into the floor, as you wrap your right hip forward, and tack your outer left hip back. Draw the lower belly in as you soften between the shoulder blades. Hold for 5 breaths. Switch sides.

Next step, come into Pyramid Pose with your hands on blocks, torso parallel to the ground, place your left thumb into your left hip crease and tack it back. Continue to press the mound of the left big toe into the your mat. Keep your right hand beneath your right shoulder and gently twist towards the left leg. Take 3 breaths and switch sides.

For a spicier experience, step your right foot back about 2 1/2 feet. Angle your back foot slightly and keep your feet hip's distance wide. Square your hips to the front of your mat. Bring your arms behind you and either hold opposite elbows or go for reverse prayer. Slowly fold forward until your torso is parallel to the ground. Push the ball of the left foot into the mat, squeeze the thighs towards one another, and keep the head of your shoulders lifted. Over time fold more deeply, extending your head in the direction of your foot and eventually lowering forehead to shin. Hold for 3 breaths. Press the ball of the left foot into the floor, scoop the tailbone, lift the head of the shoulders and slowly come up. Switch sides.

How it helps spinners:

Release tight hamstrings, calves, and IT bands. Strengthen the upper back and core.


Revolved Triangle

Release tight IT band, tight hamstrings, tight calves, and let go of upper back tension. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

If the Pyramid Pose was easy, take it to the next level with Revolved Triangle. Come into Pyramid Pose with your right leg back and your hands on blocks. Lengthen from your hips to your underarms. Place your left thumb into your left hip crease and tack it back, gently twist towards your left leg, and place your right hand onto the block outside your left foot. Twist from the right ribs and stretch your left arm to the sky. Hold for 3 breaths. Then look to the floor, turn your head, unwind your torso, and slowly come back up. Switch sides.

How it helps spinners:

Big release for tight IT bands, hamstrings, calves, and upper back.


Prep for Bridge Pose

Strengthen your neck. No more text neck. No more sore neck and shoulders from cycling and spinning. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

Lying on your back, bring your legs together, feet flexed, knees and toes pointing up to the sky. Spread those pinky toes. With arms alongside your body, bend your arms so fingertips point to the sky, and shrug your shoulders towards your ears. Press your elbows into the floor, to engage your upper back. Press your head gently into the floor. Root your inner thighs towards your mat. Your chest will lift and open, creating a small arch in the upper back, while rooting your legs to the ground.

How it helps spinners:

Strengthen your neck and upper back, to help avoid neck pain from cycling. Help counteract the upper back roundedness of cycling.


Bridge Pose

Boost energy, increase cardiovascular capacity, alleviate tight shoulders, say goodbye to sore backs. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

Lying on your back, bend your legs, place your feet beneath your knees and hip's distance wide. With your arms alongside your body, lengthen from your hips to your underarms, bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Press your elbows into the floor, root through the 4 corners of your feet, and lift your hips to the sky. Roll your shoulders underneath you one at a time. There should be no weight on the back of your neck, instead you should be able to slide a pencil or finger between your neck and the floor. 

Stretch your arms straight towards your feet, roll the shoulders underneath you again, and interlace your fingers. If your fingers don't find one another, hold the edges of your mat, and gently pull it forward towards your feet. Take 5 breaths. Release your fingers, unwind your shoulders, and slowly lower your hips to the floor.

How it helps spinners:

Open up tight chest muscles, release shoulder tension, strengthen your neck, and find relief for sore lower backs.


Revolved Abdominal Twist Variation

Strengthen core, tone waistline, strengthen rotator cuff. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

Lying on your back, bend both legs, and place a block between your thighs. (A yoga block helps you fire your inner thigh muscles. If you don't have a block, no worries, just bring the legs together.) Bring your arms into a cactus position of 90 degrees. Press the back of your shoulders, hands, and head into the floor. Engage your abdominals and lift your feet up off the floor, bringing your knees in line with your hips, and shins parallel to the floor. Spread your pinky toes and reach out through the ball of your foot.

On the exhale keep your left shoulder anchored to the floor and lower your knees halfway to the right. Keep knees in line with hips. Hold for an inhale. On the exhale, root through your left ribs, come back to center. Switch sides. Go back and forth 3 times total.

How it helps spinners:

Strengthen core, upper back, and rotator cuff. 


Legs Up the Wall Variations

Relieve tired legs, reduce fatigue, boost energy, help lower back feel better. www.irenamiller.com

How it's done:

Sit with your right hip next to a wall, lean back on your elbows, and swing your legs up the wall. Widen your legs away from each other into a V shape. Place a yoga block or some pillows against your outer thighs to support your legs. You don't want to feel a deep stretch. Instead you want to feel supported, so that the inner thighs can relax. Hold for 2-5 minutes. You can also try a simple leg cross. Hold for 1-2 minutes, then switch the legs.

How it helps spinners:

Relieve tired and fatigued legs.