yoga and unicycling

I’ve long been in the habit of starting off most any exercise session, whether it’s weightlifting, unicycling, or anything else, with yoga. You just can’t beat it for the way it simultaneously clears the mind, limbers the muscles, and gets you sweating.

Yoga and unicycling are turning out to complement each other beautifully. As much as I love unicycling, it has caused me a little bit of knee pain, probably because I’m a beginner who’s using bad form. Doing yoga completely takes care of that. At the same time, I’ve noticed I can hold certain yoga poses longer because of the increased endurance in my legs and lower back which I’ve gained from unicycling. I’m excited to see where this goes.

Unicycling has strengthened my core, but it seems now I’m worse at bending at the waist. Some yoga stretches would be a good idea.

It’s because you never really straighten your legs, they are always slightly bent, so your muscles get really tight. It happens to a lot of cyclist too, not just unicyclist.

Stretching helps me a whole bunch, helps both on and off the unicycle.

Yes unicycling is a great core work out but I’ve found my riding to greatly benefit by doing a variety of extra core exercises. The most effective for me are single leg lifts. I wont even go for a Muni ride unless I can do 30 left, 30 right, 30 left, etc for 30 minutes w/ 10 lb per pair ankle weights. When I’m at that level I can ride much more smoothly, I UPD less often and they are less scarry when I do.

IMO it would be greatly benefitial to regularly do a variety of balance exercises. There are many yoga poses that would be good for this, and they can be done anywhere, also w/o any equipment.

Many, including myself have had this problem, including me.

My problem is I tended to allow my knees go in, esp when I would tense up. When I was learning that was any time I tried to turn left.

Try to keep a streight line as possible from your hips to your feet. After a while it will become automatic to keep your knees in line, even when you tense up.

I did hot yoga for a while (go Groupon!) and found a few poses that seemed to help quite a bit. The crescent pose is designed to see how far you can push your hips to one side, then the other. This is exactly how you learn to still-stand longer or ride skinnies. I still try to stretch this way when standing around waiting for something.

The knee thing: I get knee pain now and then and have had x-rays done. Everything looks great, except for the pain. My physical therapist thinks my lower leg is maybe too stiff so is working on loosening this up at the knee. In other words, there should be some movement at the knee joint similar to unscrewing your lower leg from your knee, but obviously just a little rotation or your leg would fall off. Mine doesn’t move that way much at all so he is trying to loosen it up a bit. Something I hadn’t heard mentioned before so thought I’d throw it out here.

I started doing Yoga about a year ago with my wife and daughter. I’m the only one still doing it. I think it is great because it loosens up my entire body. It definitely enhances your unicycle riding.

I was looking up information on the “crescent” pose, when I came across this quote:

One of the principles of yoga is not to seek the fruits of your actions. Practice for its own sake, without regard to success or failure. This is the way to equanimity. --Baron Baptiste

Thinking about the quote, I wonder if the same principle applies to unicycling. I can see how adopting this attitude might make us more willing to persevere while learning new and difficult unicycling techniques.

I’m sure I would have given up unicycling in the first week if I didn’t have this attitude.

Not sure if it’s just a beginner problem. I had this problem too and it got worse and worse. At one point it got so bad I couldn’t keep it in check with ibuprofen anymore and I couldn’t keep my knee bent for more than half an hour. My doctor recommended two weeks of regular ibuprofen - not just as needed - to get the inflammation under control combined with exercise. It sounds counter intuitive to exercise the joint that is hurting, but it really helps!

The one exercise that really helped me to get rid of the knee pain entirely is a variation of a one legged squat: Standing up lift one leg slightly so you are on one foot, then bend the leg you are standing on slightly. Use your free leg to “draw” circles on the ground hovering just a fraction of an inch over the ground. Do 5 circles clockwise and 5 counterclockwise. Switch legs. As you get better, bend your weight bearing leg more and do more circles. I worked my way up to 10 circles in each direction.

I think this exercise helps with lateral stability in the knee. After doing this for a few weeks my knee problems have completely gone away and haven’t come back.

elpuebloUNIdo - Some of the best riders are very strong with that mentality.

They would keep trying over and over maybe walk away for a while, but come back and try again. I don’t think I have that same tenasity:( Once I tried a line a bunch, I finally nailed it on the 12th attempt:o

Ryan Kremsater trying to ride the skinny, first attemt @ 1:59 (same as the one @ 3:11) is a perfect example. When I asked him about it he said he eventually got it on another ride, but not on film.
SnowMuni 2012
(edit: I don’t know why it didn’t show the inset of the video)

KH has said he’d try a line (esp trials) sometimes for months.

Just a silly thought I had, and probably way off the mark, as I don’t do martial arts, but maybe yoga is to unicycling as Tai Chi is to Kung Fu -a sort of internal, non-applied version of things, without all the violence and bruising.

Not a good anogy IMO. But I think there are prob quite a few non uni things, as cross training, that would help. I know juggling has improved my riding and piano has improved my juggling, so I bet piano has helped my unicycling, I just haven’t had the back to back experience to notice the difference of practicing piano and not when riding regularly (I have noticed while juggling).

Thai Chi is a martial art and you could use it to defend yourself, just speed it way up. There are different “forms” of Thai Chi and the one that’s most well known is customarilly done slow.

I remember watching a Jean Claude Van Damme film where he goes to this trainer who is suppused to be the best. When JC first sees him he’s doing Thai Chi and JC’s not impressed. Then the trainer does this jumping kick at full speed and back into slow - mo. You can tell by the look on JC’s face he’s saying “Damn, I guess this guy is legit. I could never do that, and this guy is OLD!”

I have been doing yoga since I was in my twenties. When I was 65 I injured myself badly doing this (image) I didnt detect any physical issue at the time I was stretching. The day after that I couldnt walk and an MRI scan revealed a torn miniscus in my right knee, consistent with extreme twisting. After several weeks going through the UK National Health System it appeared that I would have to wait moths for an operation. I opted to pay privately for the operation to repair my damaged knee, and I was able to choose the time, date and place. However, it cost me £3,500 and lasted less than an hour. I am still doing Yoga but I focus on less ambitious stretching and still use a multigym to support my unicycling.
I am now unicycling again and my injury seems perfectly healed and I look forward to getting on form again. After doing my second 100-miles-in-a-day when I was sixty four I am gaining fitness and form as I head for 67 years old and another 100 mile day next summer.

You may be the oldest one to do a century. (At least, I’m not aware of any older.) Congratulations, in any case. If you do it again at 67, that’s phenomenal. I’ve thought about doing it, but when I’m riding, and I get to about 30 miles, my body starts saying, “Really? You really think you can go 100? I don’t think so!” :smiley:

I used to do yoga occasionally many years ago, but I stopped because it just wasn’t my thing. I don’t think it helped me all that much as a runner, which was my main form of exercise at the time(still is, though I’m more of a joggler). Besides this, I found it boring. If you find it beneficial, that’s great, I’m not trying to persuade anyone to not do yoga.

I’ve been juggling and joggling for the past several years and it’s hard to imagine my life without it. It’s meditative, therapeutic, a great way to stay in shape and improve coordination, and above all, it’s just crazy fun! I only recently learned to unicycle since it seemed like the next logical thing to do after juggling/joggling. So far, I’m loving it. I’m still a beginner, so haven’t been able to juggle while unicycling yet.

Before unicycling, playing kendama (Japanese ball and cup skill toy) was my exercise. In my first year of unicycling, I attempted to play kendama while unicycling and found it extremely difficult. Then, just last week (after another year went by), I attempted it again, and found I could do some pretty hard tricks while idling and riding forward. One of the prerequisites of doing kendama tricks (at least on the unicycle) is being able to keep the ball hanging straight down (not swinging) while moving forward or idling. Long story short, my unicycling had improved to the point where I could really focus on the kendama playing. Also, my balance had to improve so I could perform kendama tricks with one arm while compensating, balance-wise, with the rest of my body.

Regarding juggling and unicycling, I think the key is to improve the unicycling skills to the point of bringing back all the focus to juggling. Also, the arms are no longer responsible for balance, and the hips and feet must compensate for the motions of the hands.

I found I could play the guitar and ride unicycle while I was still a novice. The position of the arms and hands relative to the guitar…was conducive to balance, and the neck of the guitar provided a nice ballast.

My sense is that some riders avoid practicing other skills on the unicycle, perhaps fearing they’ll be associated with a circus or considered a clown.

BTW, I was on the plane, where it’s hard to avoid the TV, and there was a commercial for something or another, maybe a hotel, featuring a joggler. I did not even know what joggling was prior to you joining the forum, and I had to look up the term ‘joggling’ on the internet. Thanks for enlightening me!

That all sounds very impressive. A minor breakthrough for me today was answering and talking on my phone while unicycling without having to dismount or anything. I had to get my phone out of my pocket and push a button to answer it, no blue-tooth. It was a challenge alright. I think even a few days ago I wouldn’t have been capable of this. I use my arms a lot less than even a week ago.

I had no idea what kendama is, thanks for enlightening me. I may try that some day while unicycling, and maybe a Rubix cube or guitar or another instruent. That joggler(Michal Kapral) from the commercial used to unicycle as a kid I believe, at least that is what he said on his blog. He’s currently the fastest marathon joggler in the world(2:50).

I notice that a lot of jogglers, maybe even most elite jogglers are unicyclists or used to be unicyclists. However, most unicyclists aren’t jogglers. Most are probably jugglers though.

It used to bother me a lot when people would assume I’m a clown or circus performer. People who ask “why do you do that?” when it comes to either my joggling or unicycling are surprised when I say it’s just for sport or fitness, and that I’ve never been a clown. I’ll definitely start juggling while unicycling at some point. People can think what they want but I see myself as an athlete, not a clown.

Interesting food for thought here. Thanks Song for pointing this out to me. I learned what Joggling is.

There seem to be a lot of differences between different yoga practices. Some of them develop a lot of strength, others don’t. Some enable the development of unusual control of mind and body functions, not possible to achieve without direct practice by a specific method.