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How Do Yoga and Spinning Complement Each Other?

When you think of yoga, spinning might not be the first thing that comes to mind – but the two are perfect partners in the gym. There’s a reason classes that combine the two are becoming more and more popular. Actually, there are several reasons. People who try this spinning-yoga combo class typically love it because it’s a complete workout that gives you the best of both worlds: the aerobic workout of spinning balanced with the strength, focus, and relaxation benefits of yoga.

Different instructors prefer different class structures, but in general, a class will involve a warm-up (which can take place on the bike or the mat), a guided ride on the bike set to enjoyable music, and finally, a yoga routine that strengthens, stretches, and cools down the body.

Working up a sweat on the bike before going into yoga poses elevates your heart rate, burns calories, and also primes your muscles for stretching. Once you get off of the bike and onto the mat, you'll most likely find that you can get deeper into the poses than you normally can. The tightness you usually have at the beginning of a yoga class doesn’t exist, because your muscles are already so warm. However, this is also more challenging yoga in a way, because your muscles will also already be fatigued as you engage in poses such as warrior two and chair. When you leave, you’ll feel like you got two workouts done at once, and the benefits of each will be apparent.

The reality is that many of the tenets of spinning mirror those of yoga. In both activities, it’s essential to stay centered and focused. Just as asanas such as triangle pose and headstand require energy and strength radiating from your core, so does spinning with little resistance at high revolutions. You have to keep your abdominals lifted and engaged for maximum support throughout both workouts. Also, yoga and spinning both require that you have a firm grasp on body position. You need to be able to engage and feel each leg muscle for the most efficient cycling, and you need the same body knowledge for poses such as downward-facing dog. And, in both workouts, the intensity level begins lower and builds to an outburst.

However, the most important way in which yoga and spinning mirror each other involves the use of breath. Breathing properly makes a significant difference to the amount of effort you must put forth to achieve the same results. That's one reason monitoring your heart rate during spinning is so helpful. When you breathe correctly, you'll notice that your heart rate decreases even though the workload may increase. This is observable evidence that your body works more efficiently when you breathe correctly, and this holds true for both cycling and yoga.

Furthermore, the act of breathing consciously and focusing on controlling your breath requires the same inward attention for both workouts. To push your heart to its limits and then intentionally slow it down requires discipline as well as a solid connection with your own body. This inner experience is what draws many people to both spinning and yoga classes; it’s always revelatory and unique. If you’ve been to even a few yoga classes, you know that even though the asanas don’t change, your inner experience does. It’s the same with spinning. You may have two of the same rides, but your experience with each is unique.

Also important is the fact that yoga-spinning hybrid classes are fun. If you're someone who gets bored quickly while working out, these classes are absolutely for you. If sitting on a bike for 45 minutes or on a yoga mat for 90 isn't your thing – but you want the benefits workouts like these have to offer – then try out a class that combines the two elements.

You will most likely find, like many others have, that you feel fantastic after a yoga-spinning class. After exerting yourself so strenuously and getting wrapped up in the energetic music and challenging bike ride, downshifting into yoga feels exactly right. The poses stretch and relax all the places your body got tight and sore from cycling. Standing poses such as warrior one and two and the side angle pose can open overworked hips, while seated poses such as pigeon stretch your glutes and other muscles that keep your knees and lower back happy after you've spent time working them hard on the bike.

It’s simple really; you work yourself out in the saddle and then stretch yourself out on the mat. That’s what makes spinning and yoga complement each other so perfectly.

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