EDITOR’S NOTE: Kelli Refer is a Seattle yoga teacher who uses her bike as her primary mode of transportation. Her small book Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling was recently released by Taking the Lane Media. Since I live with Kelli, I have had the pleasure of watching this book develop into a wonderful and sometimes surprising reflection on how the two practices intersect.
Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling
Reading and a yoga workshop
Sunday September 9th, 5 – 7pm
15th & Harrison
Explore the connections between yoga, cycling and community with this unique event featuring Kelli Refer, local yoga instructor and author.
Our adventure begins at Rainbow Natural Remedies with a reading from Pedal, Stretch, Breathe. Then we will migrate to The Grinning Yoga for an interactive yoga for cyclists workshop. The intention of the workshop is to demonstrate how yoga is a great compliment to bike riding. Develop a realistic and sustainable yoga-based warm-up to incorporate into your daily commute. After that we will explore the joys of restorative yoga postures that nourish tired legs. There will be time for dialogue and questions. This is an all levels workshop.
Space is limited, so please sign up for the workshop online.
Workshop + a copy of “Pedal, Stretch, Breathe” = $30
Workshop alone = $25
*Please Note- Workshop BEGINS at Rainbow Natural Remedies at 5 PM!*
To give you an idea of the content covered in the book and a tiny taste of what we will explore in the workshop, here is an excerpt from Pedal, Stretch, Breathe:
Taking a Comfortable Seat
Asana, the physical practice of yoga, translates to “a comfortable seat.” We can find a sense of comfort and stability while we ride no matter what the hill ahead looks like. Stay present with the sensations in your body as you pedal.
1. Breathe in through your nose and out your mouth. Notice how you feel from pedal to helmet or head.
2. Notice the balls of the feet pushing into the pedal. If you have toe clips, feel the pull and push dynamic.
3. Notice the alignment of your bones. Where do your elbows go? Are your knees over your ankles? Align your bones so muscles work less. Go ahead and adjust your seat to find that sweet spot.
4. Keep the effort in your muscles and out of ligaments and tendons. This keeps your joints happy.
5. Notice if you wiggle from side to side as you ride. If you do, that you may need to lower your seat. If you still wiggle, this indicates you need to strengthen your transverse abdominis, the deepest of all abdominal muscles. Hug your low belly, right under the belly button, up and in towards the spine, this stabilizes your torso and helps prevent low back pain and keeps hips healthy. It is also a way to access your inner power.
6. Slide your shoulders down your back. This gives you a more assertive posture and facilitates deep breathing
7. There are 26 bones in each hand, including seven in your wrist this gives us great dexterity in our hands. Keep weight out of your hands and circle wrists every so often as you ride. Folks tend to grip the handlebars hard when they are nervous about traffic or road conditions.
Circumstances are constantly changing as I traverse the city. I may tighten my grip on the breaks going down a busy hill or ride with no hands on a neighborhood street with a group of friends. Comfort levels change depending on where you are on the street and in your body.
You can purchase a copy of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe online or at various outlets around Seattle, including Elliott Bay Books, Left Bank Books, Hub & Bespoke, Rainbow Natural Remedies, Ophelia’s and Dandelion Botanicals.