Chakras and Bike maintenance may seem like they have nothing to do with each other at first glance. And both of these things might be totally foreign to you, but that is why my blog is here! In the past year I have been studying both the anatomy of the body and the bicycle. Two books have been particularly influential in my investigations; the first on chakras is Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith and the second on bikes is Chainbreaker by Shelly Lynn Jackson. While at first an in-depth evaluation of psychology of chakras and a rough guide to bike maintenance may seem at opposite sides of some cosmic book spectrum, but they both help offer a possible path to understanding your bike or your being a little bit better. What I want to explore with my blog is the interconnections of yoga, bikes and a healthy and meaningful life. To do this we need to take a deeper look at what makes these things work.
Lets start with some basics about chakras, there is a good chance that you might have never heard of chakras before. Don’t worry. Chakras are not physical objects, but rather exist as energy in the body. The seven primary chakras are located along the spine (you can see a general idea of their placement in the body, along with color in the image above). Chakra translates to ¨disk¨or ¨wheel,¨like energy that is spinning around inside the body, helping propel us forward in time and space. A lot of the knowledge of chakras originates from the vedic texts of Patanjali. Chakra systems were introduced to the west through yoga.
Judith gives us in contemporary America and easier way to access the idea of chakras by comparing them to the programs that help us run:
How fitting in modern that in modern times, disks are the common storage unit of programmed information. We can use this analogy and think of chakras as floppy disks that contain vital programs. We have a survival program that tells us when we need to eat, how many hours to sleep and when to put on a sweater…Likewise, we have programs for sexuality, power, love and communication. In this analogy, the seventh chakra can be thought of as the operating system. It represents how we organize and interpret all of our other programs.
Floppy disk aside, this quote can help us contextualize chakras in our own lives and bodies. Working with chakras and chakra meditations offers the tools needed to overcome mental and even physical hangups. Personally, I have found working with chakras helpful with finding my voice and communication. As a yoga instructor I would like to also learn how to incorporate more chakra work into my classes.
So, you still might be wondering what all this has to do with bike maintenance. Fair enough. In the past year I have started working on my bike. I started to see the links of how maintaining your bike and your chakras are kind of similar. First, you have to get out of the gunk, dirt, stress, tension, anger, apathy or whatever is holding you back. And then you need to invigorate it with new life, energy, grease or lube. It takes time and a little work to get things balanced. And it always seems that once you have one kink worked out, you find something else that needs tuning up.
Over the next few weeks I want to explore and share some knowledge about chakras and bike maintenance with you. First things first. This week will feature the root chakra, our foundations and beginnings. Out of sheer necessity, I think all cyclists must know how to change a flat. And so too, the tire is what touches down to the earth as we ride along. It is the foundational spinning disk in our bicycle inquiry.