May is Bike Month: See You On the Bike Path Soon!

May is Bike Month

Bike Ambassador Team

Bike Ambassador Team

I will be participating in the Commute Challenge on the Cascade Bicycle Ambassador team. Brian is a our team leader and will motivate me to actually track my mileage, which in all my years of commuting I have never actually done. I usually care more about the flowers that I ride by than I care about how far I go. But I’ve always been curious on how many miles I actually ride in a given week…I will keep you posted! Also, I’ve been really getting a kick out of learning people’s commute team names. My friend Ellie, who works over at Adobe is the captain of Ridin’ Nerdy! Please share your team names in the comments. Commute Challenge Card

Along with the commute challenge there will be events on Bike to School & Bike to Work day plus variety of Energizer Stations throughout the Puget Sound Region. An Energizer Station is a pop-up bike resource center, that the bike ambassadors fuel…sometimes we even have snacks! For the month of May we will be giving away special prizes for folks who are participating in the commute challenge. All you need is your flashy spoke card that I have pictured. Either attach the card to the back of the saddle or place in spokes! On the back are instructions on how to fix a flat tire.

Adventure Flow: Saturday May 25th, 1:30-3pm
The Grinning Yogi

To celebrate bike to work month, this unique workshop explores the connections between yoga and bike riding.

We will begin with a short warm-up at The Grinning Yogi. Then we will go an adventure out of the studio for a 4 mile bike ride, on the most scenic roads in Capitol Hill. After returning from our ride we will take a cue from the Chilling flow class and practice restorative postures that balance your body after bike riding.

Yoga + biking = bliss

*Your own bike helmet required
Please wear clothing that is comfortable for yoga, biking and the weather of the day.

Investment: $20
Saturday May 25th 1:30 – 3pm
Class will not be cancelled due to rain!

Streets & Beets Ride this Saturday!

Streets & Beets Ride: Saturday May 4th

Streets & Beets Ride  is one of my favorite annual events in Seattle, plus it supports Sustainable Seattle. I have written about how wonderful these rides are here and here.wordpressupdatedheader

This year I will again be offering a free yoga warm-up to all of the riders. Below is a photo from last year’s warm up.

Here is the write up about this years ride:

This year, we’re pedaling 40 (ish) miles to freedom. What’s freedom, you ask? It’s anything and everything you want it to be – alongside 100 of your best friends who believe that bicycles + food have the power to transform the city.

Photo Courteous of Seattle Bike Blog

Photo Courteous of Seattle Bike Blog

Please donate to my fundraising efforts here.

 

Pedal, Stretch, Breathe is Growing…You Can Help!

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Elly Blue and I officially launched the Kickstarter campaign for the second edition of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe last Thursday! You can watch the video and learn about what makes the second edition unique. Most importantly, you can donate!

In less than a year almost all of the copies of the First Edition of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe have been sold! As of the Pedaler’s Fair this past weekend my official count is 16 copies left, out of 2000 originally printed. I will keep those few for sale on my blog for one more week.

A major new section focuses on muscle groups–particularly those heavily used by cyclists in the quads and core. A section on seasonal influences and ayurvedic principles provides guidance on activity and eating throughout the year. The nine philosophical principles of yoga are applied to bicycling. Even more poses are described, targeting the specific muscle groups used when cycling. And finally, a glossary of basic yoga and bike terms provides a handy reference. Everything is presented in a way that’s accessible to absolute beginners and regular practitioners alike in either yoga or cycling.

Pedal, Stretch, Breathe is following the grand tradition of many publications, graduating from 44 page stapled form to a 96 page (!) book with a spine, more comprehensive content, new illustrations, and a sturdy matte cover so you can throw the book in your bike pannier and head off to the park for some stretching.

 

Bikes, Yoga and Women who love them: Radio Show Round-Up

I’ve had the pleasure to be a guest on three wonderful pod casts over the past few months. I was interviewed by women who had their own shows. It was interesting to see how yoga and bikes intersect in all of these different ways with different people around the country.    TOC_small_avatar-245568_461x271

My first interview was back in December with with Diane who hosts The Outspoken Cyclist in Cleavland. Diane also teaches yoga and owns a bike shop. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from someone who found connections through biking and yoga in her own life. Her shows are very informative and fun. Her most recent show is a great listen too!

285>_6434757Earlier this year I had the chance to talk with Joni on Yoga Chat. Jodi’s show primarily covers yoga, with a focus on LA. She is also an avid bike rider and held a show about how bikes are a great tool to save the world! All the guests on the show had wonderful contributions! Jodi and I talked about how joyful navigating the city on a bike can be. We also discussed practicing short bursts of yoga and how nice that can make your body feel after a bike ride.

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Most recently, I had the chance to chat with April of Chicks on Bikes Radio for her episode on Bike Literature: Part 2, you can listen here!. Her co-host Adnan is a trainer who recommends yoga to many of the cyclists he works with. We had an interesting time chatting about yoga and biking. It was a fun conversation about Pedal, Stretch, Breathe and what is happening next in the world of yoga and bikes!

 

 

Free Mini-Workshop at Pedaler’s Fair April 20-21st

pedfair2013-01I am so excited to be participating in the Second Annual Pedaler’s Fair! Last year I announced the Kickstarter for Pedal, Stretch, Breathe.

This year I will be selling the last 40 copies of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling, the first edition!

On both Saturday and Sunday I will be offering a free mini yoga workshop outside at 1-1:30pm!

We will practice establishing a warm-up routine for daily riding. You will also have the chance to learn how to use your bicycle as a prop for yoga poses.

In addition to the book, I will also have a bike yoga poster and cards with art work from the book for sale, as well as selling a few of Elly Blue’s books from Taking the Lane.

There will also be exciting announcements for Pedal, Stretch, Breathe…the second edition. You can also get the scoop on what is coming up for the rest of Spring.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speak Your Truth: Satya

Not to get all existential, but how do we know the truth?

We lie to ourselves all of the time, telling ourselves half truths and false stories. We insist that we are not strong enough to ride a bike all the way to work or that we will never be able to touch our toes. I would like to think that our personal truth, instead of being stationary, changes and evolves like our bodies do. Then low and behold a few days, weeks, months or years later we realize hey, I can do that. What I thought was true, that story I told myself for years, that was a lie.

We live in a car culture. That is a current truth. But we can look at history to remind ourselves that the world ran without cars. I’d like to think we can shift away from being so car oriented. I have come to realize that cars are not going to disappear completely. But as I bike on the road and create space for more folks to hop on their bikes and join me, we will transform our cities and towns. We are creating a bike movement that shifts us in a more sustainable direction. That is my truth.

There are all of these myths around biking, like that it is hard or that you need a lot specific gear. It is time to correct these myths and speak the truth. Particularly, your own personal truth. Tell people your story about riding on the roads. Give voice to your experiences. The more we speak up about the importance of health and happiness, the more we can change push forward a new truth.

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Guided 21 Day Spring Cleanse + Yoga

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Tell that Guilt Trip it’s Gotta Go!

Guilt is something I have been reading a lot about recently. On Jezebel I found this great article on how guilt disproportionately affects the psyches of women. You can see guilt manifest in all areas of life. Food is one area in particular where guilty feelings can seep in. Guilt can even find feminists with busted bikes as seen in Elly Blue’s post here. All of the articles really spoke to me. One of things I am constantly wrestling with is what “I should” do. What should I do to be good, a good feminist, a good daughter, etc…this creates a really long to do list.

guilt_woman-300x200When I am not doing something “I should be doing” suddenly guilt starts fill up my throat and my jaw clenches up. All the “should'” takes on a physical form. In your body it may take a slightly different shape, like shoulders creeping up or a deeply furrowed brow. The point is that we wear our emotions in our bodies. Thoughts shape the body and we begin to form particular habits. So the question is how do we break these patterns of guilt? Well the very first step is awareness. Catching yourself mid totally-unnecessary, “I’m sorry…” statement. Noticing the moments of self-judgement and coming back to neutral. You are just fine no matter what you had for breakfast. You are good a person if you made to yoga or not.

I am still very much in the middle of this whole feeling-guilty-for-no-good reason thing. But there are a few things that help me to feel better and carve out space for more important things.

Remember to  Breathe
Take inspiration from your breath. Your exhalation is the best tool you have to get rid of shit you don’t need. Take a big breath in and let out a big old sigh. Make whatever sound you need to. Lion’s breath is a particularly clearing breath. It is powerful, a little silly and very helpful. Take a big breath in through your nose and as you exhale stick out your tongue and let whatever sound come on out.

Story Medicine

My herbalism teacher taught me about story medicine. So much of guilt is woven into the stories we have about ourselves. To help get to the root of the situation, try writing about a time when you felt flooded with guilt. Set a timer and free write, with no sensor, for ten minutes. When the timer goes off stop writing and read what you wrote. Circle a few words that really jump out at you and again set the timer and write for ten minutes on your chosen word. Then again repeat circling words and unpacking the stories that surround them. You may unearth some of the hidden roots of guilt and you can illuminate them.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is often called, “sleep of the yogi.” It is a conscious meditative technique that leaves you feeling refreshed. I would recommend taking a class at a local yoga studio, if available. Or check out some of these free recordings to guide you through the practice. The second recording deals primarily with emotions, but I recommend doing them in order.

Do What You Want

An important lesson I am learning right now is say, “Yes” when you really want to agree to do something and, “No” when you do not want to take on another project or pick up that extra shift. Developing clear boundaries is proving an important step for me to feel less guilty. Saying “No” helps me avoid burnout and also means that when I say, “yes” that I actually care about what I am doing.

Please feel free to provide any of your own ways of working with guilt in the comments.

Ahimsa: Finding Kindness in a (sometimes) unkind world

You ever listen to the news? Sometimes sadness and grief can fill up my heart. I hear about local stories of violence and hear about the wars worldwide, or smaller, more personal pains. When I head to my yoga mat I am asked to listen to that grief and mourning for sadness. Instead of pretending that this violence does not exist and deny that it is there, I have to process it and sometimes that means shedding a tear or two. (For me that happens in deep held hip openers like Pigeon)

The very first Yama, the guiding principles for a yoga practice is Ahimsa, which translates to non-violence. We often hear about see violent interactions, we know what they look like. Non-violence, what does that look like? Maybe it is peaceful protestors, a la Gandhi or the more recent One Billion Rising, but we have to see non-violence more often than that. I have been keeping my eyes open for peaceful interactions and it turns out that non-violent action is hidden in small acts of kindness. A simple smile or genuine hug. A moment of consideration for someone else, a self-loving thought and kind words.

I’ve also been thinking about violence and vulnerability (read another great post on the topic here). For me some of the most violent encounters I have ever personally experienced have been on the road. Once I was turning left onto my street and a person in the car honked at me, which I found rather irritating and rude. So I flipped the person off. This infuriated the driver who decided to turn left and follow me and then cut me off by turning into a driveway to yell at me. A lot of very, very angry words were shared. And I eventually just walked away. I was totally shaken up. My neighbors and friends near by helped calm me down. It could have gone worse. Thankfully it didn’t.

The really weird thing about biking is you never know what you are going to get. You may be riding down the street and get a friendly honk from a friend in a car or see another bike riding buddy and stop and chat. Or you might all of a sudden be dealing with some really serious road rage.

We traverse these emotional encounters like we traverse the hills. It is part of the journey. If yoga has really taught me one thing: it is that to best deal with a situation you to be present, not reliving the past or planning the future. And if you want to access the present you need to focus on your breath.

One of things I am working on the road is deescalating situations, take it down a notch. Sometimes yelling back, which to be honest can sometimes be a visceral and gut reaction, does not always serve the situation best. Perhaps there is an element of forgiveness we all need to work on. We are human and we make mistakes on the road. I believe we will make fewer mistakes if we are present. We might even make more connections if we smile.

I’ll leave you with a little bell hooks to ponder.

For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?

Winter Solstice Ritual

Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice (if you want to get really technical 3:12 AM PST), a wonderful and powerful time of year. It may be a bit challenging to keep all of your bike light batteries charged and gloves dry, but there is still much to be thankful for. I wanted to share with you all a simple ritual that can help celebrate the return of light.

Ritual
Gather with close family or friends around a fireplace or pit (a candle will do in a pinch). Enjoy the warmth and light provided by the fire. Take a moment to reflect on the past year and write whatever it is you are ready to let go of on a small piece of paper and offer it into the fire. Take a moment of silence.
Another way to celebrate is by making collages- as a visual reminder of goals and desires you would like to

see manifest in the coming year. It is a lovely way to use old cards, calendars, and magazines.

Close the ritual with a round of Gratitude, where each person has a moment to speak to what they are thankful.

Class Notes

  • There will be class Saturday 12/29 10:30 am @ Denali Fitness
  • New community Hatha class @ Home Yoga Tuesday 9:45 am $5 Drop-In (great for beginners)
  • Still Groovin’ over at The Grinning Yogi, plus the studio has a blog! Check it out here.