Decades ago yoga was purely the domain of the yogis. Anyone foraying into yoga poses was considered new age, hippy or avant garde. These days yoga is a very different story, with sporting devotees discovering not only mind and body benefits but also the way yoga poses complement their sport training and performance. Surfers, runners and dancers regularly sing the praises of yoga for their sport. Mountain biking devotees are enjoying what yoga brings to their experience too, and numbers are growing as the sport in Australia enjoys a surge in popularity. Jane Corben, owner of Jindabyne Yoga Shala, shares with us how yoga can benefit your mountain bike training. What are the overall benefits of yoga? Jane explains that yoga is ?the perfect elixir for the physical strains of biking. Overall, yoga creates body and mind awareness and it teaches you to listen to your body?s sensations to promote physical strength?. Yoga1 The benefits of this awareness is in knowing when to push and back off, she maintains. She says yoga can improve durability of joints and muscles as well as improving flexibility and range of motion. Yoga for cycling injury prevention & recovery A big factor in participating, loving and continuing with mountain biking is preventing and managing injury so riders can get back on the bike and do it all again.

"Yoga optimises joint alignment and helps minimise the chances of injuries and improves your recovery times?, says Jane.

Jane believes that restorative yoga encourages physical strength and produces more power, and that learning the correct alignment of poses from the beginning creates positive muscle memory. Starting your mountain biking session with yoga positions To get the blood flow going and wake up the muscles Jane proposes mountain bike enthusiasts begin their warm up with some sun salutations. After mountain biking wind down with some gentle yoga poses & stretches Jane recommends being kind to your body after a session on the hill with yoga?s more gentle poses such as: - Forward Standing Bend (Uttanasana) - Happy Baby Pose (Urdhva Mukha Upavista Konasana), - Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana), - Posterior Stretch (Paschimottanasana), - Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), - Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana). ?These yoga poses provide a relaxing counterbalance to the day?s physical activities,? Jane says ?If you hold these relaxed poses for longer periods (3 to 5 minutes), they will enable the stretching to the deeper layers of the muscles.? Yoga2 Yoga exercises for abs, butts and thighs It?s not only women that are interested in toning and strengthening these areas, bike riders need strength in these areas to maintain control over the bike over a long time period. Jane recommends a yoga focus on core & leg strength, ?Vinyasa is a sequence of poses aligned with the breath in which each movement is paired with a breath creating focus, strength and improving fitness?. She cautions those who think of yoga as just lying around stretching that it is more physically exerting that people are led to believe. For abs, butts and thighs she recommends: - the Chair Pose (Utkatasana) - any of the Warrior Poses, - Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) , - Butterfly Pose (Setu Bandha Konasana).

?These will relieve hip flexors, strengthen & stretch the psoas muscles?.

The plank pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) is always popular for strengthening the core and ?requires strong leg & core strength? to execute it successfully. Challenge yourself to do 30 seconds then try to hold it for one minute. Yoga offered at Jindabyne Yoga Shala Yoga3Jane offers Vinyasa Flow (Power yoga) classes, Restorative, Hatha and Ashtanga classes in her studio in Jindabyne.? When asked, students provided feedback saying that they feel stronger, more balanced and focused. Jane explains ?When challenging yourself on the hill you need to be in the moment, you need to be able to block out distractions and fear. In yoga practice we focus on yoga breathing techniques. When we are challenged physically and mentally in poses we train ourselves to be comfortable with this state of being, it means we can then mirror these positive habits in our behaviour off the mat?. Jane Corban runs a range of yoga classes at Jindabyne Yoga Shala open Monday to Saturday, 12 Thredbo Terrace (CWA Hall) Jindabyne 0403 033 170. So why not come down to the Snowy Mountains for a restorative weekend (or why not a week?) of yoga and mountain biking this summer season. There is excellent mountain biking in Thredbo and many ways to improve your cycling skills such as an introductory safety course for mountain bike riding, downhill clinics and guided tours. Afterwards, enjoy a great meal out and then try out some of Jane's yoga poses while relaxing in your Thredbo accommodation.