Bicycle Yoga

This morning the sea is dark gray and opaque, with rough white capping waves.  At the beach, the wind and the waves create a comforting white noise that those (theoretically relaxing) noise machines can never truly imitate.  The skies are gray, with random raindrops…. very unlike the bright blue skies and warm sun of yesterday.
bicycle
Last afternoon, I borrowed a bicycle, and rode into Helsingor, a ride of about 8 kilometers.  It was a beautiful ride, along the coast, through tiny beach towns.  Many bicyclists, people walking dogs, sunbathing on the beach, swimming, picnicking, the deep blue water speckled with white sail boats, and closer to Helsingor, the ferries.  bicycle round-a-boutThis is a great place for bicycles….  not only are there pedestrian paths, but there are bicycle paths everywhere (even in the round-a-bouts!)  It is a very accepted and common mode of transportation here.

And can I just say….. Granny bicycles rock!  Ok, you hard-core bicyclists out there may disagree, but I think the old “Granny style” bikes (which is what Sven, a patient here, called it, as I was picking out a bike that would fit me) are definitely the way to go.  You know the kind… picture the bicycle ridden by wicked old Miss Gulch from the Wizard of Oz, basket and all.

Ok, so it probably means I am a pleasure bicyclist and not a sport bicyclist, but I really like sitting upright: spine long, heart open, smile on my face. It’s gotta be better on the body than being all hunched over, intent on the destination, forgetting about the journey.

And that’s the joy of it – not only is the bicycle something to get me from point A to point B, but it is also something that allows me to enjoy the journey… To see the sea, to smell the air, to open to all sensations…  feeling the breath, completely in the moment, this too is yoga.

Yoga is not all about asanas, although I love asana practice. Asana practice, hatha yoga, is invaluable for learning how to be in the body, how to be in the moment, how to be present with breath, and to stay centered in the midst of stress and chaos.  When you learn the focus of hatha yoga, you begin to see yoga in all of your life….

like on a bicycle.  Of course any activity can be yoga, or not.  I can take that same ride, and be lost in thought… thinking about yesterday,  and wondering how to make things happen in the future, and not be present to the air, or the sea.  That would be good too, and it would be healthy for the body, and good exercise, but it’s not yoga.

My preference is to take that same ride, and feel the air on my skin, the breath in my body, smell the sea and ride right out of time…. letting it become a meditation, a grounding activity, connecting me back to source.   Life giving, life affirming yoga.

When I can do that, on a bicycle, in an asana, in a sitting meditation on the beach, with joy, then I can also remember to ground and center even in the chaos and stress and pain that life may bring.

A street in Helsingor

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Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 05:39  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Amy,

    Beautiful writing, beautiful riding…………I am there with you. I do love my mountain bike, sitting upright and enjoying every feeling that kisses my body!

    Thank you, love
    Charlene

  2. So true about the bicycle, though I never thought of it as yoga. On the North Shore of Oahu, where we have a little cottage, some community minded citizens years ago had the forethought and benevolence to create a bike path. It ambles among the houses, paralleling the main road (only road), but also passes the ocean where you can see and hear the waves, rhythmically beating on the shore. It is only two miles long, ending at Waimea Bay, but the ride is glorious, amid lush tropical foliage and sweet smelling flowers. Thank you for reminding me of it and to appreciate it more.
    I can ride it to the country market on Saturday mornings for local produce and flowers, to the supermarket, or to swim in Waimea, my favorite place in the islands, where the water is warm and clear in the summer. Of course, in winter, the waves can reach epic heights–25-30 feet and there is no swimming going on, only crazy surfers are out there, relishing the fury and the risk. Not sure there is yoga in that, but I will ask my yoga instructor there who is a surfer and lifeguard, who practices every day and invites all to share the practice with him. You and he are kindred spirits.
    Next time I ride my bike there I will focus on the present, my breath and the beauty around me.


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