This week we are gonna show the cyclists out there some "Yoga Love" and focus on a pose that is primarily just for them. Though it isn't a bad pose for swimmers or runners either. For runners this is an excellent quad stretch, but is also a good compression for the achilles tendon providing and a good counter for the lower legs. For swimmers, the pose promotes ankle flexibilty. Personally I've found it good for developing a stronger kick.
But I've found Thunderbolt brings the most noticeable relief when I've come in from a long, hard bike ride. This pose is just so good for tired, overworked cycling legs. This is the reason Thunderbolt Pose, or Vajrasana, is one of my all time favorite poses ever. Mostly because it is easy, can be done almost anywhere, and provides instant verifiable relief for tired quads.
To get into the pose all you need to do is sit on your heels with the tops of your feet pressing into the floor. You want your knees to touch so that your legs are straight out in front of you lined up with your hips. In Yoga your hips are a key alignment point, and seated poses like Thunderbolt are no exception. You want your shoulders lined up with your hips to insure an upright posture. You can rest your hands on the tops of your thighs or on your knees. This can also help you position your torso properly. Once you have a sense of being centered, you can lean back a little and rest your hands on the floor slightly behind you to deepen the stretch. If you find your knees begin to lift off the ground position your torso more toward being upright. Your knees should always remain straight in front of you and in contact with the floor.
I also like to lean forward in this pose with my hands on the floor in front of me and gently rock my body from side to side on my shins. I find this also is very relaxing. I will point out, like most seated poses Vajrasana can be very intense for those who have sensitive knees and inflexible ankles. If you find this is an issue for you, you may want to try folding a blanket and placing it behind your knees so that you rest on that versus your heels. Here is a short video of the pose.