In Building Wheels in Bikes & Bodies, part 1 I focus on preparation, getting the spokes laced and your body warmed up. In part 2 we will explore the final steps of building wheels in bodies and bikes.
Truing wheels at times feels like you are not really making any changes. I was constantly wondering if things were really improving. It is kind of like sphinx pose, a really easy back bend where you are not sure if anything is happening. But yoga teaches me that subtle adjustments have a rippling effect that transforms whole postures. When preparing for full wheel, if you create that extra length in your spine, you find deeper back bends because there is more space between the vertebra. When truing wheels, a quarter turn in the wrong direction affirms that each little twist of nipple has its consequences. It took me a while to really get a grasp on what I was doing, but once I gained a little bit of muscle memory and focus, I found my truing groove. For more info on actually building wheels I would suggest taking a class, like this one at Bike Works or grabbing a skilled bike mechanic to show you the ropes.
Patience proved to be the biggest challenge for me in truing a wheel and for many yoga practitioners, patience may be a challenge for moving into advanced postures. Whenever I started to get really irritated or stuck while working on my wheel, I returned my focus to my breath. I advocate of practicing Ujayii breath off the mat during challenging tasks. Breathe in and out of your nose, there is a gentle constriction in the back your throat and you hear a wave-like sound. This breath slows down and deepens breathing to increase oxygen intake and focus. Ujayii translates to be victorious or to conquer, which this type of breathing supports.
Below is a little video demonstrating moving from bridge pose to wheel. Remember to take your time and listen to your body about what feels good. Attending regular yoga classes supports the strength and flexibility of your spine. If this pose is very challenging, head to a class near you.