Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heart Forward Bicycling

This photo is from the Yoga Flavored Life blog.
My Physical Therapist has helped me a great deal on this randonneuring journey of mine. As I have pushed my body, mind and spirit farther and wider than anticipated, I have found that physical therapy has helped me learn about my body, mind and spirit. I am way more tuned in than before. Even my daily posture has improved! Well, sometimes.

I've got all kinds of exercises she's recommended for this or that ailment: Achilles, shins, back, knees, neck, other assorted body joints and parts.

But one piece of advice I really like and that applies every time I saddle up is the heart forward suggestion. It isn't a pose like the one above exactly, though that pic captures the feeling. The idea is that when I mount the bicycle I am to lower my torso toward the top tube further than I will when riding in the drops. Then gradually ease up into the riding position instead of starting up and coming down into it. And, importantly, I am to embody a heart forward posture of peeling my heart away from my backbone. It is a gentler alternative to arching my back, and I find myself relaxing into heart forward, not pushing into it.

It's also good later in the ride, when I might be tensed up, shoulders up to my ears and such. By adopting heart forward in my mind, spirit, body, I loosen up.

And most of all, if my neck is sore and I adopt a heart forward posture, my neck pain disipates. I can be down in the drops and pained in my neck if I'm not heart forward, and voila!: with heart forward my neck is all good. Try it.

Looking down the road from a dropped position with my heart forward doesn't strain my neck. Looking down the road from that same dropped position but with a sunken back does strain my neck. I'm repeatedly amazed at how well heart forward works, but it does.

And you knew this was coming: I love the way the two words capture the journey I'm about to begin as I saddle up: heart forward!

Keep it forward,


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