Aside from talking to folks in my yoga classes about getting and staying aero on the bike, I've been spending a lot of time watching triathlon bike footage on the internet. This has really helped me in my thinking about what it takes to have and comfortably maintain good aero positioning on the bike.
Some components of the position are:
- a strong and stable core.
- open hips.
- Length in the hamstrings.
- Open shoulders.
- Space in the front body/hip flexors.
This next pose we will explore in this series is a bang for your buck pose if ever there was one. The traditional pose is an forearm balance called Pincha Mayurasana. But we don't need to come into the full expression of that pose for our purposes. As is the case with most yoga poses, sometimes the preparatory pose is more beneficial (read challenging) in developing the attributes of strength, muscular integration and access we are looking for than the actual full expression of the pose itself.
Pincha Mayurasana is no exception. If you've been following along through the last couple of posts in this series we can move easily from Bakasana or Crow Pose into Pincha Mayurasana prep. Of course you can do all of this work as stand alone poses or you can put them together during a strength workout or a stretching routine to augment other work.
From Crow Pose, you would bring the feet back to the floor and come back into the original squat we started out in. From here you would come to your hands and knees with the palms under the shoulders. Then lower the elbows to the ground keeping the forearms parallel to one another. You want to make sure you keep the forearms from rotating inward to one another. They should rest flat on the floor extending out in a straight line from the elbows. Keeping this alignment will be important as we come into Pincha Mayurasana prep as the alignment is what promotes the shoulder opening we are working toward. If you have tight shoulders perfectly parallel forearms might not be possible but you want to keep the arms as close to this ideal as comfortably possible.
Once you have your forearms situated, you will keep your gaze up between your hands as you raise your hips toward the ceiling straightening your legs. At this point you will walk the feet in a few inches. The head will naturally drop but keep the eyes forward looking in between the hands. You want to use your forearms and engage them from the hands all the way back into the elbows. This will create the lift as you engage the core to facilitate the posture.
Try to hold this pose anywhere from 5 to 8 breaths. Come out of it by bending the knees and lowering back to the ground. You will want to repeat this posture 3 to 5 times. As you get better and your shoulders, hips and hamstrings open up and your core gets stronger, you can add more challenge/intensity by raising a leg in the air.
Ultimately, as you gain strength and your body opens, you will be able to use the raised leg to bring the hips over the shoulders. At this point the full expression of the pose can be explored. But if all you want to do is be more comfortable on the bike, what I've shown you here will be more than adequate for your training.
Ultimately, as you gain strength and your body opens, you will be able to use the raised leg to bring the hips over the shoulders. At this point the full expression of the pose can be explored. But if all you want to do is be more comfortable on the bike, what I've shown you here will be more than adequate for your training. If you are finding keeping your arms parallel is an issue, then you could try using a yoga block. Most men may need two due to the width of their shoulders. If a yoga block isn't available I've used books if I could find one the correct width. The thing to keep in mind is just try to keep the arms a little straighter than they would be if you let them do what they wanted. In time you should see improvement both in the practice and in your position on the bike.