Ormson with his Harley (photo by Randy Anagnostis)
Ormson with his Harley (photo by Randy Anagnostis)

After falling from a roof and injuring his back, NMU alumnus Greg Ormson (’99 MA) found that yoga delivered both pain relief and a new vocation. He became a certified instructor in the practice, just as he had with another avid interest: motorcycling. Ormson has found a unique way to blend both passions. He leads “Yoga and Leather: Yoga for Bikers,” the first—and, to his knowledge, only—specialized class of its kind in the nation to be held in a Harley-Davidson dealership.

It may not seem a logical pairing, but to H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) member Ormson, the two effectively complement each other and share some similarities. He said beginners in either activity benefit from the guidance of a qualified trainer.

“With motorcycle instruction, the emphasis is on developing riding skills and environmental awareness,” said Ormson, also known as Motorcycling Yogi G. “But spending several hours in the saddle and handling unexpected situations that may arise requires mental focus, strength, flexibility and stamina. That’s where yoga comes in. It is increasingly viewed as the ideal exercise to improve overall mind-body performance.

“When riders are faced with executing a challenging move like a tight U-turn on a heavy bike, breathing shallows and the body tenses, affecting performance. Yoga training can lower stress levels through controlled breathing and meditation.