Ryan: People are drawn to yoga for so many different reasons, do you remember what your initial draw was?
A: I like two aspects mainly, One – the emptying of the brain during the session – a real stress release, a time to center myself and focus on simple physical movements. This is very much like mountain biking, but slower and mellower. Two, the feeling in my body afterward. It makes me feel tingly all over and I think I feel like a tiger – in that I mean the whole body feels awake and energized and exiting the studio my step is light and bouncy, every muscle has something to say.
R: Emptied brain + après yoga body buzz = Tiger style. Wicked, who wouldn’t want to come out for that! So Andreas, how might other people know you’re in Tiger style mode?
A: Oh, that’s an inner thing I like to keep for myself. It’s similar to those days on the bike when you feel you can do no wrong- a one-ness with your body.
Life isn’t always a trial; Ryan Riding Comfortably Numb in Whistler. Photo ~ Caryn Leech.
R: Yeah yeah, I hear ya, though it’s an inner thing, the vibes others might pick up on must be positive. I often say yoga can be more dangerous than Mtn biking; as an experienced yogi, do you have any advice for newbies around preventing injury?
A: It’s all about your own practice, new people need to be patient as their bodies adapt to new experiences. Yoga is pretty intense and can be very challenging, the best way to not get caught up in a competitive circle is to think about exploring your own range of motion- ask yourself throughout your practice “where are my stiff spots, where are my strengths”? This will keep your focus where it should be inwards. Enjoy the exploration and watch over the next few sessions as things change.
R: That’s key advice, thanks Dre. Do you have a favourite yoga posture for cycling, and if so why?
A: Well everyone is tight in different places, for me I like twists and side bends – we become so linear in our cycling that this really seems to be the place that just thrives in yoga for me. Also working the hips and balance with simple stances like tree and pyramid, the hams and back like the simple down dog and cobra for the sheer movement. Hard to say I have a favourite; there is so much that is good.
The many faces of Ryan Leech; yoga instructor, pro rider, life coach.
R: Nice, I’ll throw all those into Sunday’s class to make sure you leave feeling like a Tiger! For those that are on the fence about whether to come to class and give it a try, what last words might you have for them?
A: Last words – we all need a little self time in the day. Taking that time by doing yoga is the physical manifestation of meditation – turn off your brain and let the body stretch, you will find solutions to problems and a better quality to the rest of your life. I know it sounds cliché, but 5000 years of practice can’t be wrong. Yoga is a life long pursuit that is challenging and stimulating, the sooner you start the sooner you can begin to unwind. I’ve been away from yoga for a little while and like an old friend I miss it.
Next time an interview with Katrina Strand, a female perspective on the Mtn. Bike and Yoga connection…
This Sunday, Dec. 18th Ryan will be teaching at the Anne MacDonald Studio beside the Presentation House Theatre here in North Van (map below) from 1:45-3:00pm. This will be a regular class throughout the winter. Everyone is welcome and no previous experience with yoga is required. It’s also a bargain. Prices below.
5 Class Card: $40
10 Class Card: $75
Any class, any location, no expiration
For more on Ryan and his yoga experience click here for our interview with Ryan.
Or to hear Ryan talk about yoga on his web site click here…
Will yoga make you as fast as Olympian Andreas Hestler? Only time will tell. Heckle Dre or Lululemon below.