Wheel building : bike maintenance :: Urdhva Dhanurasana : Asana
This week I rebuilt the wheel. Not just any wheel, my front wheel! When my really adorable old hub hit the dust I knew it was time to enhance my fixin’ skills and do it myself. While I was twisting all those nipples, it dawned on me that the process of building a bike wheel is very similar to building full wheel on the mat. Urdhva Dhanurasana requires a delicate balance between effort and ease to find that perfect tension.
Taking apart my old wheel quickly became rhythmic activity to do while chatting with friends. Turn by turn the nipples got looser and looser and I saw my old hub fall out of center. Funny to think such a simple little machine helped me ride so far. My handy dandy bike mechanic friend, Danny, led me through the process of threading the spokes. Danny clearly explained how to do each step while highlighting the elegance of wheel design. I am enchanted by the beautiful mandala pattern of the spokes. Mandala, a Sanskrit word, loosely translates to “circle.” Mandala images are used in visual meditation. The bicycle wheel is a beautiful example of this form. Next week I will true my wheel and balance the tension. Part 2 of this post will let you know how it goes!
When I am planning a yoga class that features wheel or bridge I warm up students by opening and strengthening shoulders, and lengthening the spine. In the spirit of wheels, I will show you a Mandala flow where I circle all the way around on the mat. This kind of practice encourages exploring all directions in and around your body. Below is a mandala yoga flow that helps prepare your body for deeper back bends like full wheel. Remember to repeat the flow on the second side.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which will demonstrate full wheel pose and discuss truing wheels!