It appears as if nothing is going on and therefore not as impressive to the outside world as inversions like a hand stand; but the move from without to within is a highway to the heart, the compass for every decision, and the sacred center of every temple.
We’ve been on Earth for a while, both corporately and individually, and we know falling and rising. Aware of failure and success in life, in teaching, and in yoga, we listen when a guide addresses us with the courage to be.
Following my guide, I give myself to the moment and find my lifting gaze opens a new potential both fierce and divine. I lift my spine from behind my head and imagine never moving.
The crown of my head rises up and into an unseen sacred net of prana. I stand rooted as if I am a monument. I follow for several near-transcendent seconds where I become a living, breathing stone. Then I exhale to feel my shoulders slump setting myself at ease.
I go back with heightened awareness to calm breath. I stop traveling and arrive where my teacher’s soft words land in my ear. Her question is not judgment. It teaches awareness, “Where is your breath?” She says, “Let it go, it’s in the past.” In that yoga moment, I’m a thirsty man who’s been given water. It was all I asked of the day.
“And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.”
Here, original music score, videography, and editing by Mr. Randy Anagnostis (photographer, videographer, musician). I read a short piece on the inner workings of sitar. Enjoy the wild Mustangs cooling in the Tonto National Forest’s Salt River in east Phoenix.
Thank you to Om Yoga Magazine for covering Yoga & Leather (May 2020 issue) on how bikers and yogis can get their zen (and their maintenance) in yoga and on the bike. Teaching yoga in a Harley Davidson Motorcycle dealership in the American South is not common but OM published this story of an uncommon yoga outreach. Read all about it here, or see the video link at the end of this post.
See the May issue by going to pocketmags.com., where a free digital issue can be yours, or by ordering a subscription for the hard copy magazine. Yogainspirationals number 97 by Gregory Ormson,… read more...
All those yellow lines we cross over in our sleep. This is how we are driving through the pandemic head on with the night and winter’s disguise. Here is Greg singing a Jesus song. Picture the musician with his guitar riding a bus across the Upper Peninsula and using a handheld mike to record the Jesus song. He departs from Jesus to read a poem entitled “Hour of the Wolf,” a homage to Ingmar Bergman and his vampire film he made with his former love Liv Ullman, who happened to be pregnant with his child. But always return to the “pilot” and those late-night scenes moving through winter on a bus. R. Thorburn
I read Thorburn’s “Hour of the Wolf,” from one of his poetry books, The Drunken Piano, shortly after its publication in 2009. I knew what it was to see my reflection in a bus window at 3:00 am, and I could hear the bus driver singing a blues song, late at night, driving his life away. I felt what it was to be mid-twenties and anxious; I knew the pinch of wire-rim glasses.
I wanted the wolfing hour to have a melody, maybe a divinity to accompany that grainy ride, and I came up with the song below – borrowing from Edward Hopper’s Hymn, “Jesus Savior Pilot Me” as a floating refrain from the incessant and noisy wheels of the bus. I saw Thorburn and the bus passengers related by anxiety to disciples in a boat on a stormy sea, and as I see many people these days, anxious about something they can’t see.… read more...
It all began on a rainy afternoon at a window inside Peter Gummerson’s house. Looking out the window, my fingers wrapped around chords on his Nord keyboard. I was recording a song entitled “8 Track.“ The original lyrics were taken from two poems and two different parts to my life—one was a runaway nineteen year old and the other a twenty-three year old in love with an older woman. Derrell Syria visited gummersound and laid down guitar throughout the three separate suites in the song. R. Thorburn
My words explore a soul’s stretch toward a white star emerging from lightning; a blending of Michigan & Wisconsin land and water into a memoir piece I have been writing – on and off – for 15 years. Thorburn gave me advice for selecting edits from two long stories, here melted down to this four minute word/music offering. G. Ormson
This song is art and love, a clarinet melody from a friend; Greg’s vocals ride above these moonstruck notes tinged with nostalgia, haunted by regrets. His Taylor guitar booms as the words I wrote for an old flame keep pace with the big chords and star-saturated runs of clarinet. We kissed in that borrowed car, our nights sliding under the tires like a Chagall, the violin tuned to a blue we painted inside out.
Then the goat floating from under our bed, its horns pricking a shined-up moon, in that lower harbor room. Driving out of town in a borrowed car, there were always ghosts crossing the road, like a Marc Chagall drawing of a peasant couple walking hand in hand, or a farmhouse with glowing windows. She said keep to the left as if the white line were a child. R. Thorburn
Gregory Ormson, music, guitar, and vocal; Russell Thorburn, words; Mike Bjella, clarinet. Mixed @ Gummersound, Marquette, Michigan… read more...
For 12 years I lived close to Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Two of my children were born there and all three spent their early years there. But my will to survive its brutal winters faded as the economic pinch turned mean and took a bite from my hide. I had to move.
While living in the U.P., I learned of the Finnish people in the late Nineteenth Century, sailed across the Atlantic to establish a new life. Many of them moved to the U.P., and had been there long before I was in 1998; so were the French Voyagers, and the Anishinaabe before them. They brought little, but their most important resource was sisu, or guts. They also brought their 1000 year old family-bonding mantra: sauna on kuma! Sauna is hot!
I grew to love my sauna and associate the best of my life’s hot times in the coldest of places. I built a sauna from scraps and tin roof panels I scavenged from a junkyard. Somehow, I found $173, to buy windows, a door, a stove and stove pipe. Preparing my sauna the first time, the roof caught fire. A friend was there and we managed to put it out with buckets of water. In time, I made it work.
It was a gathering place for poets and writers. We’d steam together, and afterwards, I’d concoct white Russians in big blenders and pour them into glasses held by writers, musicians, filmmakers, and friends. I’d watch them melt into their chairs as poems oozed from boiled bodies.… read more...
“Silver Beatle” came from a series of poems written with John Lennon in mind—and working with Gregory Ormson, I saw the potential for a song. We all want John Lennon to visit us in our back yard these days. To have him sing for us and tell us in his usual sardonic method we just might make it through this pandemic. R. Thorburn
In 1970, after my senior year of high school, I hitchhiked out to Berkeley and was at Winterland in October when it was announced during Quicksilver Messenger Service’s set that Janis Joplin had died in Hollywood. That night was October 4. I had spent my last three dollars for that concert which opened with Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead followed. When I returned to the Detroit area I formed a garage band, worked odd jobs and barely escaped the draft.
We are all creating new markers to anchor these days—in the hopefulness of rebirth and artful ways to live. R. Thorburn, Marquette, Michigan
“There were no flies on Frank that morning—after all why not? He was a responsible citizen with a wife and child, wasn’t he? It was a typical Frank morning and with an agility that defies description he leapt into the barthroom onto the scales. To his great harold he discovered he was twelve inches more tall than heavy. He couldn’t believe it and his blood raised to his head causing mighty red colourings.” John Lennon, from In His Own Write
Gregory Ormson, music, guitar, vocal; and Russell Thorburn, words; recorded & mixed at Gummersound, Marquette, Michigan… read more...
“I embrace the certain hurt of this path. At a cabin in the Midwest, I do not feel assaulted by noise; I seek justice for myself and creation. I enter the stillness, listen, and index the anchors of constancy.” Gregory Ormson
Russell Thorburn, piano; Gregory Ormson, words and voice. “Radio On,” composed by Thorburn, and a memoir by Ormson; mixed @ Gummersound, Marquette, Michigan.
Russell Thorburn and Gregory Ormson have worked together for over a decade writing original poems, prose, and music. Much of it happens in spite of distance and isolation. The seven songs/poems, posted for NATIONAL POETRY MONTH during April, are Ormson/Thorburn’s word/song series for the pandemic.
Isolated in an Upper Midwest studio, musicians record their work for “Mescalero Territory.” A sitar introduces the fever of an injured and isolated outlaw, holed up in a barn where Billy the Kid fights off rats and nightmares. The poet reads this story of “Mescalero Territory” to original sitar accompaniment.
Poem/song notes for number 2, “Mescalero Territory. ” Writer and reader, Russell Thorburn. Sitar, Gregory Ormson, Mixed Peter Gummerson @ Gummersound, Marquette, Michigan.… read more...
Bikers: Covid-19 has paused everything.
It’s a gift given to us, a rare break in normally busy lives to think about things and even make plans to do something new. “Yoga and Leather: Yoga for Bikers,” is for you. This is not gymnastic yoga where your goal will be to nail a handstand or accomplish the splits. Yoga for bikers is for motorcycle riders showing up to a space apart for breathing with simple movement; and it’s a settling down in one place for a few minutes.
Doing a yoga class doesn’t mean you give up your identity, or that yoga makes you stop doing what you do. But yoga will lead you to experience yourself in a different way from what you ever have before. That’s it. Anything and everything else is your choice.
The story of yoga for bikers – in the OM Yoga Magazine May issue is for you. It’s now free to read because OM Yoga Magazine will not be printed for the month of May.
Take a moment to read how yoga benefits bikers. It’s all right here, the story of Yoga and Leather at Superstition Harley Davidson.
Here is your link for a FREE issue of OM Yoga Magazine: www.primeimpactmags.com
And if you want to see what Yoga and Leather looks like, follow this link to a YouTube video of our class from February, 2020.
Thank you @omyogamagazine for sharing (May 2020 issue) how bikers and yogis can get their zen (and their maintenance) in yoga and on the bike. Teaching yoga in a Harley Davidson Motorcycle dealership in the American South is not common. What is common is your willingness (Om Yoga Magazine) to publish a good story when you see it.
Your sharing of this three year outreach to bikers was wonderfully done, and I’m grateful to Martin ed., and the entire staff of Om Yoga Magazine. See the May issue by going to pocketmags.com., – or by ordering a subscription for the hard copy magazine – where a free digital issue can be yours. #yogainspirationals number 97 by Gregory Ormson, #motorcyclingyogiG. Writing on yoga, motorcycling, music, and landscapes at https://gregoryormson.com
An entry point to yoga often begins with quiet meditation or breathing exercises. We set our intentions and enter into our dedications with mindfulness. Through active imagination, we create positive mental space enabling us to move in every direction.
We may practice with others, but each yogi sets the table for their yoga banquet according to their capabilities. Setting the table well serves to elevate our mind/body readiness and prepares us to carry it through the session.
At the end of a one-hour session, I was moved when the teacher said, “Release into savasana.” This was a new phrase and a fresh way to enter the savasana moment.
In Living Your Yoga, Judith Hanson Lasater wrote that savasana taught her to dis-identify from mental storms and go within. “I learned to recognize more quickly when I had abandoned the present moment once again, and I learned not to judge myself when I had done it for the millionth time, and not to dance away so quickly with my thoughts.”
In a larger sense, releasing into savasana means to loosen my grip and to take a break from managing the persona, known as the outer image we construct, identify with, and project to the world. It’s important to get a grip on our lives, but it doesn’t have to be a stranglehold.
Perhaps this is why participation in yoga is growing. Many of us long for a place to release our grip – and we desperately need moments when the noise dissolves. We thirst for moments of freedom from the grasp of our ego, and are satiated by savasana as it leads us to soften investments in this life shaped by old fashioned hierarchical structures and obsessions with upward mobility.… read more...
We’re all flat on our backs in a liminal place, fired by tapas and its heat of transformation. I’m listening as a guru points the way, and slowly my doubt is burned by fire and sent to the trash bin of insecurity.Heat and gravity are my honest teachers, and they’re worthy companions delivering an exacting curriculum of change. When I insert my ego into the moment and rough-hew its curriculum, I mute the shining fire of tapas branding me in this container.
The tapas of yoga is not of my making. It doesn’t heed my objections, or accept my charges to change or comfort me in the twinkling of an eye. In fire, I am only left to breathe and positioned to trust; by my simple presence and trust I participate in the yoga economy of rebirth out of the flame.
This economy doesn’t just subtract or burn away, it also adds, multiplies, and divides certainty into millions of shades. Yoga’s economy is Gandhian in its disciplined core, negative in its spiritual logic, countercultural in its teleology, and hotly shamanistic in its strategy.
In this season of our discontent, our wiser revelry may be composed of welcoming close the sublime inside a spoonful of shaman, holding forth with a pinch of subtraction for division and discontent, riding with attention on the coattails of science, and supping together with a cup of cheer for our endings not yet defined.
The land was drunk on money and the illusion of freedom fired the Westlanders’ imaginations. Yoga’s eight limbs twisted in the creative chaos of post-modernism and strange ideas whispered in the wind. Gurus saw it all and wondered where the surf boards came from.
They didn’t understand what had happened to their movement and some of them lamented the loss of yoga’s mystical heart. They questioned the roots of atman and were agitated by vibrations from superhighways.
In time, yoga prospered, and people realized the teachers had brought good medicine. It seemed to help prisoners, alcoholics, those suffering pain, and even angry youth – but many feared it – especially the counsel to sit alone in silence.
Power brokers were terrorized by the nightmare of employees chanting Namaste and yoga threatened stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry.
Westlanders didn’t want gurus, they didn’t read books, they didn’t meditate, but they did compete. Soon the gurus were silent, confused by what happened and haunted by memories of peace and stillness. Some gurus returned to the source, giving up their mission.
One day, all the gurus were called to an ashram. They lamented the hubris of culture and false prophesies of comfort through technology, money, and convenience.
One reminded them of the illusions in misdirected ambition and they became silent. At the ashram, a yogi read a passage from Shelly.
“Life, like a dome of many-colored glass
Stains the white radiance of eternity.”
The gurus wept, and a world opened like the many petals of the lotus in a soft rain. A light from the crown of their heads went out to the dark and returned as eternal light in a deep, dark night.… read more...
In shadow and in light, we yoga, and our teachers observe. Together we’re co-creators in a new architecture – a yogatecture – and celebrate moments when a yogi gives shape to an old blueprint written on a banana leaf.
Everything is prepared as I enter yoga class where the nexus of a new identity is continually reforming me. I step into the room and hear the soothing melodies of dahina, tabla, and harmonium. Their compelling sounds pour over me like waves from the ocean. A pause . . . then class begins.
I’m present and following directions, but then mentally, I become unhinged for a moment. I try to concentrate on my pose, but my mind tracks the music, so I follow the sound like a rising cobra hypnotized by its flier. My reach aims for the sky, but my imagination takes me to a Hawaiian beach where I’m preparing for a dive.
My training reminds me of a breathing routine: a deep breath in, calm hold, and a slow release. Breath is my vinyasa, and for a moment, my yoga-pose rides side-saddle. My heartbeat slows, awareness creeps closer, and I focus on every sound.
I’m still in class, but I’m also down in the deep blue of the Pacific. I pine to hear the whale, and imagine the sound from its massive heart. I leave my imagining, rise to the surface, and open my eyes where I’m back in the yoga room and yoked once more into my corner of eternity.
Yoga moves me to imagine a long line of yogis fed by the garden and connected to source for nourishment.… read more...
IN this rare photo, 16 year old Bob Dylan and a friend, Dale B, pose with Dale’s Harley Davidson in 1956-7 on what is now called “Bob Dylan Drive,” in Hibbing, MN. I’d bet they wouldn’t have guessed that 63 years later Bob would release yet another song that once more would be a mindful mirage for the world. Released yesterday, 17 minutes of “Murder most foul.” Incredible Link below
Restaurants and bars – common biker stops – are closed. Large scale events, including bike events, are cancelled.
If you want to ride, Yoga & Leather Stretch Ride is on for March 29. But . . . only show up at the Superstition Harley Davidson west side parking lot at 10:30 am if you can observe six (6) feet of distance between you and all others.
On the bike, keeping safe distance it’s easy, but I’m saying, when we meet in the west side parking lot, greet one another with voice but no physical contact. It’s always a good idea, but especially now, do not touch another person’s bike.
The recipe for shifting from discontent to contentment is simple:
- Ride to Prospector Park in A.J., a 12 minute ride from Superstition HD.
- Walk to a corner of the park and pause in quiet space.
- Breathe deliberately for 10 minutes.
- Walk back to bikes and stretch.
- Go home.
Link to info on the ride: https://www.facebook.com/SuperstitionHD/videos/1034031243636948/… read more...
Thank you @omyogamagazine April issue, for publishing “Clearing Space,” #yogainspirationals number 96. It’s appropriate to our situation as the virus is doing its best to make us do the work of the niyamas. In “Clearing Space,” I cite the writing of San Francisco based yoga teacher, musician, and leader @janetstoneyoga, who spoke of this work as being an inside job in her newsletter from December, 2019, “Unwrapping Your Gifts, Healing Family Wounds.” “Buckle up, it’s not for the faint of heart,” she wrote. In the US, we have lots of buckling up to do. Friends . . . Clear Space, and do it now before its too late.
And here’s an example of how we use this space for renewal. Dave Swenson, brother of my long-time friend Lee Swenson, couldn’t gig tonight for St. Patrick’s Day, so he did a 40 something minute concert from the porch of his home in Iowa and streamed it to people in the US and afar. This is something to like about people: developing ways to renew self and others in the social distance space we’ve suddenly fallen into. Way to go Dave Swenson.
Here’s a link to Irish and Scottish music from fiddler Dave in Iowa. .https://www.facebook.com/dave.swenson.33/videos/10221681855654385/UzpfSTExOTQ1NjA2NzQ6MzA2MDYxMTI5NDk5NDE0OjEwOjA6MTU4NTcyNDM5OToyOTUyNTUyMzcwNDg4ODU5MDk3/
OM Yoga Magazine has just released their March issue including the 85th of my #yogainspirationals. Thank you OM Yoga Mag.In the Phoenix east valley, this magazine arrives two weeks after publication in the UK. In each issue you'll find yoga insights in these areas: OM Body, OM For Men, OM Fashion, OM Mind, OM Spirit, OM Living, OM Family, OM Actions, OM Teacher Zone, OM Travel. Check it out.… read more...
Piano, photography, and videography by the talented Randy Anagnosis. He’s been an east coast marketer, recording artist, and now photographer for Superstition Harley Davidson. Anagnosis’ first CD was “Dreams,” c 1996, sold in hundreds of yoga studios. A second piano-driven album was “Full Moon Rising.” He also did a jazz album, “Thunder and Light.”
Video courtesy of Anagnosis, and Superstition Harley Davidson. Thanks to all the bike and yoga folks that showed up too. #motorcyclingyogiG
“There was something about the way he played his Stratocaster that made it seem otherwordly.” –Eric Clapton on Jimi Hendrix
My sitar flows in 19 bands of light: their names are baaj, chikari, and tarab. Its journey to my hand is a mystery, but its music-medicine came to my doorstep from an old land, gripped me from the eons, and pulled my soul into its orbit. It’s a path unlike any other, bending more than notes. A musician friend and professor said, “Its all angles.”
Saraswati dances, sitar bends, and because I’ve heard its music and felt it in my chest I participate in its step. This step is toward the depths and from them rises a watery siren-song of the fathoms.
Sitar music is a never-ending river, shepherding me to a place close and yet far away. My teacher speaks in common tones and offers up clusters of daring: “Consistency, consistency, consistency,” she says. Her words; the kernel of all learning, teaching, and the core of every guru’s curriculum.
I’ve seen the rivers of India, but I can’t put myself and my sitar on their banks; but once at dusk, on a hot July night, I made my way with this rosewood, gourd, string & steel riddle to the banks of the Salt River in east Phoenix to listen. There, I realized sitar will not accompany me without shepherding along a river of souls.
Looking to the Salt, I could almost see a funeral pyre float past; a desert inspired mirage bobbing with the current, like a lazy raft ablaze in flames, scented smoke and grief trailing behind.… read more...
See you at Superstition Harley Davidson Jan. 8 and Jan. 22.
Stretch Ride on Jan. 26.
Check Superstition Harley Davidson events page on Facebook or their Website for current information on all events.… read more...
Hear “When I Get Back to Marquette,” and “Mescalero Territory.”
Russell Thorburn, NEA recipient, is the author of four books of poems. His last book, Somewhere We’ll Leave the World, was published by Wayne State University Press. Currently he is producing and directing his one-act play Bomb Shelter for Black Box Theater at Northern Michigan University, where he teaches composition. It will premiere March, 2020, and includes original music for the end of the world that never happened in the sixties. www.russthorburn.com
Gregory Ormson, writer and musician living in Arizona, has collaborated with Thorburn over the last decade on word and poem projects. He writes on music, yoga, motorcycling, and landscape.
“Mescalero Territory” Lyric and voice, Russell Thorburn. Sitar, Gregory Ormson, engineered at Gummersound Studio, Marquette, Michigan. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CJeFLGYOO8YVB0NjFQSUFhR0dJV09kSjlVZ2daTk5uYU9Z/view?usp=sharing
“When I Get Back to Marquette” Russell Thorburn, Marquette, Michigan lyric; Gregory Ormson, Mesa, Arizona, music, guitar, vocal, and lyric adaptation; Mike Bjella, clarinet, Montreal, Quebec; Peter Gummerson, Marquette, Michigan, sound engineering. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CiqMkl6W9OOuS82qWe-LASo3ytH_FNLw/view?usp=sharing
Check out my 83rd published yoga article, “Yoga’s Outliers,” in the January, 2020, Om Yoga and Lifestyle magazine. Better yet, get the mag.
“Men are still the minority when it comes to yoga in the West. They are yoga’s outliers,” says Gregory Ormson.
Read MORE below …
“Yoga’s Outliers” is a featured story along with an interview of London based international yoga teacher Sarah Highfield (#yogagise), Ibiza detox retreats on the Balearic islands off the Spanish east coast, and special coverage of vegan recipes and much more for the learning yogi. Thank you #OmYogaMagazine #yogainspirationals 83.read more...
Thanks Superstition Harley Davidson for this 80 second video. See how yoga is similar to, but has one important difference from other movement oriented activities like motorcycling, judo, and ballet.
See you all at Yoga for Riders(18) & Ride & Stretch(29)this month!Yoga can help you gain more time in the saddle comfortably!
Posted by Superstition Harley-Davidson on Saturday, December 7, 2019
The December 2019 Om Yoga Magazine has published “Silence and Slow Time,” the 82nd of my published yoga articles under (#yogainspirationals). Thank you OM. Also see in this fine 114 page issue features on yoga at home and office, aromatherapy, meditation, breath work (pranayama), body positivity, and many more necessary reads for your yoga practice. In addition, as an end of year bonus OM Yoga Magazine has included a 2020 calendar and a 50 page insert on “incredible yoga retreats from around the world.” I’m honored to be a regular contibutor for OM Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine.
“Rough Road? Breathe . . .” Just published in H.O.G. Magazine. I’ve been reading H.O.G. Magazine since 2002 when I joined the national H.O.G. organization. This is the first time they’ve ever published a story on yoga, or yoga for riders. H.O.G. riders and all of us realize the times are a changin’ and if we are fluid we’re better able to adapt. Breathing well and being fluid is what we do in yoga. Check it out bikers. Thanks to H.O.G., (ed., Matt King), and Superstition H-D in Apache Junction, AZ.
Motorcyclists love to ride, they want to ride longer, and they want to ride skillfully. That’s why I started Yoga & Leather: Yoga for Bikers at Superstition Harley Davidson in Arizona. The story is now published in issue 51 of H.O.G. (Harley Owner’s Group) magazine in digital format accessed by HOG members.
Two pages of the hard copy I’ll pass it along here. Thank you Matt, ed., H.O.G. Magazine. Get your copy of H.O.G. magazine for updates from the world of H.O.G. and Harley-Davidson. it includes riding tips, vintage bike notes, mechanical advice, riding tales, and stories of the next ride.
Over the last 15 months, Soumya and I have been practicing music of the soul by working on bhakti music, blending traditions of the East and West. Our band Sat Song (truth song) has a first event Thursday night in Tempe. We’ll perform for the 10 year Anniversary Celebration of the Arizona Interfaith Power and Light organization. This is an organization demonstrating much needed cooperation and respect in our day of division along religious and cultural lines. I’m pleased to be part of this event. Wish us well!
Calling all motorcyclists’
November’s “Stretch Ride” at Superstition Harley Davidson will be the last Sunday of the month (Nov. 24). It will be a 12 minute ride from SHD to Prospector Park on Idaho Road,
Meet in the west side parking lot of Superstition Harley Davidson and leave at 10:30 to ride to this hidden gem (photo below) Prospector Park.
By this tree (below) we’ll spend 15 minutes in a couple breathing exercises and quiet time.
Then we’ll walk to our parked bikes where I’ll demonstrate – and you also practice – five simple ways to use your motorcycle as a prop for stretching. The ride and stretch will be less than an hour. Afterwards, everyone can go their own way.
This is way to adapt yoga movements to parking lot stretching with the help of the bike. It’s something you can do on your tours and rides. No special clothing or props required.
The stretch ride is about conscious breathe (with awareness) and easy stretch moves designed to keep us riding longer.
Move and breathe with ease and attention to experience peace and relaxation
Hello everyone, here’s Analysa, one of the Rez Riders Angels, demonstrating the anjali mudra this past weekend on my bike. Notice she’s at ease. To be at ease on a motorcycle and in life is what we practice at YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers.
In our session this week, you’ll learn what this pose symbolizes and what means when yogis bring their hands together in front of their heart. You’ll also learn why yoga classes use this posture in class or at the end of class.
The anjali mudra (hands together) has to do with connecting the inner and outer self. Here, you see the left and right palms meeting at the center of being (the heart). There’s a lot more too, but I’ll save that for Wednesday.
I’m asking you to try this experiment sometime. When you are waiting at a stoplight – whether on a motorcycle, in a vehicle, or on a bicycle – tune into how you are feeling in your body. I’d almost be willing to bet that you will notice tightness. This might be in your shoulders or neck, maybe in your jaw, or you may even feel strain in your eyes.
We may think we are not under stress, but if it’s all around us, it’s hard to avoid and while we perceive stress in our minds, we feel it in our bodies. Yoga treats the body in order to treat stress.… read more...
- The practitioner is ATTENTIVE to breath while focused on the process of asana and quiet.
- In movement, consciously linked to breath, we produce the rhythmic effect of life. It’s what humans have done for centuries; and therein lays yoga’s simple yet profound magic: breath in movement and rhythm.
- When a yogi comes home to their breath-centric core they kiss the soul to receive their full inheritance.
- At the center point, breath is the building of consciousness and through breath in heightened consciousness, jettisoning old scripts, the yogi constructs a personal story of renewal formed by inspiration.
- A breath focus narrows the gap between body and mind so that when the yogi concentrates on the physical act of breathing, the mind comes into the here and now.
- Breathing is both automatic and responsive to signals.
- Anyone can relieve tension within the body by using breath.
- Vinyasa is really about breath directed by asana.
- The all-encompassing breath within (samana vayu) circulates from the solar plexus in the middle of the body and contributes to healthy metabolism and digestion.
- Breath movement is secondary muscular movement.
- Pranayama (breath management) is a “calm and lucid entrance into the very essence of life.” M. Eliade
- When yoga teaches us to breathe with ease and move in awareness, and when we learn to arrive at a pose – and life – with equanimity, that memory is lodged as experience in the body. In this way, yoga’s therapeutic is embodied and forges a connection between the physical and non-physical. It works by calming the body to treat agitation driving the monkey mind, for while stress is perceived in the mind it is felt in the body.
Author D. H. Hickman, in a Brevity Blog, writes about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, first published in 1974. She admits that she doesn’t like motorcycles – and calls them “an annoying piece of thunderous metal.” But when she re-read the book, in silence and slow time, she captured a sense of what the author, Robert M Pirsig, was getting at as he rode west from Minneapolis toward California with his 11 year old son through the haunting and wide-open lands of South Dakota.
She notes how Pirsig depicted “The psychic impact of space and empty roads, noting he felt ‘lulled’ by tranquil thoughts of ‘wind sweeping . . . across open fields of the prairie.”
The process of slow reading, like slow, deep-breathing yoga, or long meditative rides on a bike, are “a creative, surprisingly effective, way to row against the fierce current of trends, the monotonous rush to get somewhere, and the exhausting promotion of _______ . . . ” You and I can fill in the blank.
We worship speed only to become frayed. We strive for efficiency only to become inhuman(e).
Bikers looking to engage the brain might check out this book. Hickman describes that she read it a few pages at a time. Maybe that’s something that will work for you and work for me. Motorcycling at ease, moving and breathing at ease, how about Zen and the art of life maintenance. It’s about being at ease.
With appreciation for your summary of YOGA & LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers (Starting Oct. 9th)
” . . . to improve the health and wellbeing of motorcyclists.” Yep, that’s it!
If ANY OF YOU have interest in Yoga for Bikers, a program at Superstition Harley Davidson now in its third year, here is a reminder of October’s yoga and bike events:
Wednesday October 9, 4:30 pm in the Eagle’s Nest
Wednesday October 23, 4:30 pm in the Eagle’s Nest
Sunday October 27, 10:30 am starting in the West Parking lot at SHD
Each year there are slight changes. This year, we’ll focus on a breath-centric class and slow movements in ease.
The “STRETCH RIDE” will take place the LAST Sunday of every month, starting at 10:30. We’ll ride a short distance to a green or desert space and there spend 15-20 minutes in breath awareness and quiet. Then we use the bikes for a few “stretch poses.” Motorcycles are perfect for this, they are stable props but also transfer us from place to place. The “stretches” are portable too.
What you do in Yoga for Bikers:
This beginner level class is offered to riders to stretch the areas where we feel tightness: hips, shoulders, back, and neck.
The purpose is to keep riders in the saddle longer by working gently toward flexibility and balance. This means longer at a time, but more importantly, longer for life.
The side benefit of all yoga is learning to be at ease in the midst of stress.… read more...
YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers begins its third year in October at the Eagles’ Nest (outdoor second deck) at Superstition Harley Davidson. Two Wednesday’s a month, riders and anyone interested will gather for simple movement and breath work. This beginner level class is open to all. This is offered to riders to stretch the areas where we feel tightness: hips, shoulders, back, and neck. This year we will work more with breath and movement in ease.
The purpose is to keep riders in the saddle longer by working gently toward flexibility and balance. This means longer at a time, but more importantly, longer for life. The side benefit of all yoga is learning to be at ease in the midst of stress. This happens through breath work and deliberate movement.
Here are the dates for October yoga and leather at SHD in the Eagle’s Nest (a large outdoor deck above the dealership)
October 9 at 4:30 pm
October 23 at 4:30 pm
The “stretch ride” will be held October 20, at 10:30 am. You’ll hear more about that soon.
PUBLISHING NEWS RE: YOGA AND LEATHER
The AZ Rider Motorcycle News (now in its 21st year) will also include a short story in October via Internet link (issue number 239), where you can read more about Yoga and Leather. Thanks Betsy and Bruce!
July’s issue of YOGA Magazine from London featured the Yoga and Leather here at SHD in its cover shot and in its feature story with a five page coverage including photos.
HOG Magazine (Harley Owner’s Group) will be covering this story in their November issue.… read more...
I took part in the world’s largest charitable motorcycle event for owners of classic and vintage styled bikes on Sunday September 29th, 2019. This event, called the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, brings together over 113,000 well dressed riders on sweet, small bikes raising 5 million dollars in 700+ cities for men’s health across 110+ countries.
The goal for the once a year DGR is to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research – and men’s mental health – on behalf of charity partner the Movember Foundation. Next year, I’ll see if anyone wants to join me for this worthy cause and fun ride through Phoenix. A few photos tell the story of this event, which started at Four Till Four Coffee in Scottsdale with 218 registered bikes. It ended at Sazerac in downtown Phoenix.
REASONS to ride, or to donate:
It feels good to contribute to a good cause.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, taking 307,000 every year.
75 percent of all suicides are men too, taking one every minute (510,000) each year, most of them in the 20-39 age range.
Why don’t you get your CAFE RACER out of the barn and join me and over 200 others next year as Distinguished Gentlemen and Gentlewomen ride for a cause! AND . . . if you don’t have a cafe racer or vintage bike . . . rent a scooter :)
(Colchester, Essex Co., UK) for including “Conducting the Awesome,” in your October HOT YOGA special.
This magazine is ‘with it.’ Last month, they celebrated their 100th issue, and have published extensively on inclusivity, body positivity, yin yoga, retreats, men in yoga, Western Yoga, and breath training as the new yoga.
Breath Training is what I do, having just completed two yoga workshops in Wisconsin and Michigan on “Yoga Breath, Breath of Life.” Breath training is a new – but very old – emphasis growing from the needs of Westerners. By engaging the breath, we learn to calm ourselves in a conflicted world. My workshop is integrative: meaning it includes philosophy, linguistics, biology, mobilization of prana, execution of the bandas, the embodiment of asana, a practice of mindful release, and attentive work on drishti.
At my teaching site, Superstition Harley Davidson in Apache Junction, AZ., when motorcycling yogis focus on breathing, when they hear sitar gently pinging above the roaring big twin engines, and when they receive my final salutation, breathe deep and exhale a final OM, it begins to look and sound like something not heard or seen before; indeed, Western yoga is changing (practice at a HD dealership proves it) and slowly taking on a unique form and function. For me, it starts with the building block of it all – BREATH.This fall, I’ll bring even more breath training to my teaching at YOGA AND LEATHER (Superstition Harley Davidson) in October as we start year 3 of Yoga for Bikers.
If anyone wants to learn more about this focus on breath, I’m ready to conduct a two hour workshop for you – with original music on sitar and guitar – “Yoga Breath, Breath of Life.”… read more...
A memorable month on the home ground to see many family and friends. Two Wisconsin trips with Marquette, Michigan in between sweetened by literary frosting. The last nine days, Debbie came north to share in the good times.
Thanks everyone for food and drink, word and music, for yoga and breath. Until next time, namaste to all you birds in the cold north: Bree Ommon, Ashley Prinsen Jason Prinsen, Brian Ormson, Tamara Kay Ormson, Laurel Gyland Kieffer, Robyn Bretl, lightbodY, Paul Zollver, Eric Schubring Russell Thorburn, Amy Howko, John Howko, Dylan Trost, Peter J Gummerson, Jennifer Taylor, Nathan Taylor, TuliVesi Yoga Paul Lehmberg James C Daly Tee Chuppie Daly Jon Shea, Nick Hoen, Chris King Karla Lodholz, Michael John Brancato Natalie Rodehaver, Melinda Rodehaver, and people off FB: Tim Ormson, Mitch Ormson, Chris Howko, Jonathan Johnson, Ken Baker and Martha Bush, EG, and Riley.
Many thanks again to Jennifer and Nathan of Tulivesi Yoga in Marquette, to gummersound studio in Marquette, Russ, Johnathan and Dylan at The Crib, and Robyn Bretyl at LIghtbody Yoga in Wausau!!!
Photos: Marquette, Michigan, Wausau and Spooner, Wisconsin. To Daly’s of Wausau, thanks for the blues music by Minneapolis based Joy Ann Parker band and Michael Charles, Chicago blues band.
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipO-JyAvr5KK6sJKHM-WPqoLzhyBnfSNFAkIUATuLlsLLXVAPTYN6hv9jUmAJAmk8A?key=Mk5tZUVkaTliZV9HbmVlUEhrWGJGU3BHeDA5aXBn… read more...
Soulful Music and Poetry: Back to Marquette
August 30, 7 PM @ The Crib
With Dylan Trost and Greg Ormson, singer-songwriters; Russell Thorburn and Jonathan Johnson, poets
This one-of-a-kind event features the eclectic energy of Dylan Trost, in his brand new compositions, which include “Strangelight” and “Where Is All the Dust?” As well as other Americana-like grinders of the human spirit you will want to hear in a coffee shop setting.
There is also the original music of Greg Ormson on acoustic guitar and sitar, formerly of The Magees, from Wausau, Wisconsin, an innovative Irish-American band. Greg provides fiery vocals in his deep baritone range, and his guitar work sparkles with the Irish tunings. Sitar reflects his meditative nature as a yoga teacher who currently lives in Phoenix. He has come back to Marquette, and sings of it in a newly recorded song.
Dylan and Greg will provide guitar background for Russell Thorburn’s poetry from
Somewhere We’ll Leave the World, Wayne State University Press, and selections from his new work, including poems from the recent anthologies of Undocumented: Great Lakes Poet Laureates on SocialJustice—and Respect: The Poetry of Detroit Music—both Michigan State University Press. Greg has collaborated with Thorburn on songs recorded for a forthcoming CD, including “Back to Marquette.”
Jonathan Johnson, Eastern Washington University and Cheney, will read from his recently published memoir The Desk on the Sea, Wayne State University Press, and May Is an Island: Poems, Carnegie Mellon Press. His work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry, published widely in literary magazines, and read on National Public Radio. … read more...
One good thing about Facebook is that every now and then someone reaches from the past and makes contact with us in the present. This is the case from someone that contacted me yesterday and I’m glad he did.
Today (Aug. 13) is Kristen and Greg’s 25th wedding anniversary. Back then, I was the officiant for their wedding when I was working as a clergy for the Lutheran church and my assignment was to Northern Michigan University. Marquette was my home for 12 years, and two of my children were born there. Except for the cold – which I can’t stand – it was the best place I ever lived.
Along with his Facebook note, Greg sent one photo from his and Kristen’s wedding ceremony. I had never seen it, and it brought back many good memories of my time as a YOOPER in Upper Michigan.
Greg reminded me that I played my ceremonial wood duck drum as part of their wedding. Playing a drum wasn’t that far out of bounds -since I started drumming with a set at 14 – but I made the drum I used in their wedding and have used it in many ceremonies. The oak body for the drum came from a large tree that had been struck by lightning. The deer skin on top was from the last deer my dad had shot in Indian-head Country of Northwest Wisconsin.
Text below is from “Anchors,” a piece about drumming.
From early on, I heard text and sub-text in drums and memorized tom-strike patterns, rim hits on snare, and foot work for the high hat.… read more...
I ignore that which is trending and I despise the shallowness steering our culture to the banal and ugly even as I am caught within its mean cultural zeitgeist. It’s why I yoga: to take myself away from a greedy and ugly culture, awash in self-pity.
But I also yoga to take my selfish self away from my self – one session at a time – and there I meet my ego and engage in the soul’s martial art. I aim to breathe from the bones and continue yoga to open conversations of the yet unsaid, laced with elements of the unholy and blasphemous, the sacred and righteous.
Yoga takes me far from the realm of commodification. It cannot be rated on a scale of cuteness, its worth cannot be measured by production dollars, it does not yield to haste. Yoga wastes no time trying to harmonize with programmed music created in seconds on a computer keyboard. Yoga is not born of the formulaic for its process is unique and organic to each yogi.
Yoga empowers me with courage to cry out, to accept self, and be at ease. I do yoga, and I bring it. Yoga returns my investment through the beauty way of its physical, non-physical, and metaphysical medicine. It redeems my rough unfettered ego in a union where I am home at last.
Yoga resides deep in the sound of OM, and when listening, the yogi hears it in every breath, every move, every thought, and in the nervous firing of synapses. At the end, releasing into savasana in the hushed OM of the gathered, I brush against the deepest level of truth, and there, gather strength to get up and boldly face judgments that feed rigid walls within and without.… read more...
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YOGA & LEATHER: A New Road for Bikers
Every yogi is the same. But every yogi has been injured in their own way. Debbie McGregor, passionate yogi and motorcyclist, was first injured at age 11. It happened in a rodeo mishap when she was locked in a cramped chute with a panicked horse. A broken back sustained in a motorcycle accident in her early 30’s became major injury number two, and she suffered a broken neck in a car accident during her early 50’s.
“When I read about YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers,” she said, “I couldn’t believe it; something combining my two passions, I had to come.”
After her car accident, Debbie was told she’d be paralyzed from the neck down, but she resolved to walk and was determined to ride her Harley Davidson motorcycle again. She invested in physical therapy and added yoga as a daily routine. Three years after the accident, Debbie is doing yoga and motorcycling around the country. “It’s unexplainable how much yoga does in the path of healing. The more I do, the more I want and the more I heal,” she said.
Paul, a 79 year old retired Chicago police officer, is another dedicated rider of Harley Davidson motorcycles but new to yoga. Like Debbie, he found his way to YOGA AND LEATHER, and considers it healing balm and an island of peace.
Recently, Paul’s 900 pound motorcycle tipped over and landed on his foot. He hobbled into class wearing big boots and blue jeans, but did what he could. “I need it, it’s good.… read more...