Simply fold a towel x 3 lengthways and place on a mat. Kneel at the back of the mat and crawl forward to lie on the towel/blanket - your head, shoulders and hips should be supported. Your knees, legs and feet will be off the blanket and relaxed onto the floor. Place your head on top of your stacked hands or to the side. Close your eyes and breathe into your back body, allowing gravity to cue your back to open and relax.
You'll find that your lower back opens up and your mind quietens. Breathe in this pose for up to 8 minutes. To come out - gently lift your head and crawl your hands back, coming to sit on your knees, remain there for a minute to allow your body to readjust before you move on.
CHEST OPENER: for posture
This pose counters the curved spine and shoulder action that cycling induces. Regular chest opening can help open your shoulders and improve your posture.
Take your 3 x folded towel/blanket and sit off it at the end. Lever down to lie face up on the blanket using your hands behind you either side of the mat. Your hips, shoulders and head should be on the blanket. Bring your feet together, letting your knees drop down to the floor either side. You can support your knees with some rolled towels. This support will signal to the pelvis and hips they can relax.
If you have a tender lower back you can bend the knees, placing your feet flat on the floor close to your butt. Bring your knees together to touch with your heels splayed out.
WALL HANG: Hamstring Lengthener
Want to ease up the lower back and hamstrings in 1 minute post ride? This is your answer!
Stand with your butt against a wall, your feet hip width apart, back a couple of inches away from the wall.
Then contracting your stomach muscles (to protect your spine) fold forward, bringing your head towards the floor. Hang down, letting go of the neck and arms. Slight bend in the knees.
Relax everything - breathe into your back body, your hamstrings, your calves, let your arms hang. With time you'll find you can hang further down. Slightly stretch down on the exhale. Notice how much further you can move over time. Gently come up with a contracted stomach on an inhale.
CHILD'S POSE: Ease the Hips
This is a core pose and can be used at any time to chill out, quieten the mind, stretch out the hips and shoulders.
Simply sit back on your knees, your heels touching but your knees splayed out in a V.
Crawl your hands forward along the ground to bring your forehead down. If you can't reach the floor, not to worry, place a folded towel/blanket under your head so you can rest your forehead down. This signals to the brain and body it can relax.
Place your hands palm down on floor either side and in front of your head. Now breathe, send the breath into your shoulders and hips. Stay here for several minutes and feel gravity relaxing the pelvis and the spine. Yum. Come out the way you came in, bring the head up last to prevent dizziness.
LEGS UP THE WALL: Leg Refresher
Cycling involves a lot of downward motion in the legs. This pose brings blood to the abdomen (where the organs are), refreshes the leg muscles and improves circulation.
Place a towel/blanket on the floor to cushion your spine. Then sit with one side of your body flush against the wall, back upright with knees bent, feet on the floor. Swivel your legs up the wall as you lie your back down, face up.
Walk your legs up the wall, as far as is comfortable, keep a bend in the knee and feet hip-width apart. Bring your arms to your side away from the body, palms up to open your shoulders. This is not an active stretch but a passive one; gravity will lengthen your hamstrings and spine.Feel your entire spine supported by the floor, breathe. After 5 minutes slowly come out the way you came in.
CHAIR FORWARD FOLD: Back Release
Another great one to open up the hips, elongate the spine and chill out.
Sit cross-legged with some towels/blankets folded underneath your butt to bring your hips higher than your knees. This relieves strain on the knees. Your feet should be resting on their outer edges (not crossed underneath you), parallel with your knees. You may find it helpful to lift your butt flesh up, away from the bones to enable you to sit down more!
Place a dining chair in front of your and fold forward to rest your forehead and hands on the chair. If you can't reach - pull it closer and place towels on top of the seat to bring it closer to your head. You should feel a natural stretch in your hips, along your spine and shoulders. No pain! Breathe here. After a few minutes reverse the cross of the legs to even out the body. Come up gently on an inhale.