Update: Yoga Bike Ride Sunday + Yoga pondering and mind wanderings

Yoga bike ride this Sunday!

Start at Cal Anderson park by the fountain

11am meet in Cal Anderson Park
11:30 Pedal, Stretch & Breathe

No yoga mat needed, but if you want, bring it along. Our destination is to Bicycle Sundays at Seward Park. See post here. We will pick a destination. Before pedaling around the Emerald City, lets warm-up at the park. Then we will try stoplight yoga. Ride will be casual and welcoming to yogis and bike riders of all levels!

Quick reminder: Still time to donate to Kickstarter. Only $82 to go before Pedal, Stretch, Breathe is fully funded!

Support the project here!

I spend a lot of time doing yoga, or at least practicing Asana, the physical limb of yoga. It is easy to see by the number of people practicing yoga that it is very popular. Yoga is a good antidote to the stress people encounter from working, or unemployment. It offers a way to find strength and flexibility to people who live sedentary lives. And as I have explored on this blog, yoga is a great addition to self-care for cyclists and other athletes. But this is all just about the great physical benefits of yoga, what about the mental and emotional elements of the practice? How do we create space for those elements in hour long classes at the gym? Or even before a bike ride, like the one this Sunday?

While moving into a new house this past week, I spent time looking through my yoga teacher training and workshop materials. I stumbled on this excerpt from an essay by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati titled, “What is Yoga?” and inspired this pondering post:

Yoga means union, the union of an individual existence with cosmic existence, union of the individual “i am” with the cosmic “I Am.” This union is eternal. You do not have to create it. You cannot create it, because it always exists. You have to feel it. How? Not by an emotional feeling of the thinking mind, but by feeling the original mind, the silent mind with which you are born.

No individual is independent from the rest of existence. We depend on food for eating, on water for drinking, on space for dwelling, on air for breathing. We depend on Nature every moment. As a matter of fact, the individual is in every way the manifestation of Nature. And there is no distinction between outer and inner nature. The universe is like an organic living tree, and the sun, moon, stars, zodiac signs, humankind and all creatures are its leaves, flowers and fruits.

The mind is the world, and the world is the mind. All problems, all wars- whether individual, domestic, social, national, international, political, religious or economic – are the result of a disturbed mind. Thus, the mind is the cause of our happiness and unhappiness.

What is the cause of the crisis and lawlessness present throughout the world? It is a lack of union between body, mind, and soul.

The essay continues on a bit, but I want to stress this point of a cultural disunity between body, mind and soul. I feel this big trend of yoga in the west happened because we as a culture are off balance. We have created a society that is not forgiving to the needs of the body or the soul or even the mind. Working full time can cause an accumulation of stress which is toxic for your body. Things like car culture which perpetuates a sedentary life and increases stress levels due to traffic are symptoms a of an off balance culture.  Using the idea of homeostasis, that our body is striving to find a sense of balance or equilibrium between its many functions, requires that we balance work and leisure, effort and ease. Yoga is one of the few things people invite into their week that allows them time to connect with their bodies, take time to simultaneously find invigoration and restoration.

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