Brown Bag online literary is out today including two of my contributions and many more. This issue, which they’ve titled Jackson, takes readers on a journey through the solar and lunar system in words and sounds; it highlights the individual story – and music in that story – with the complicated tangle in the biggest of big pictures. It is dedicated to Jackson Rose, described as an artist and open soul. Links to click in and listen to “Voices from The Woodland,” which Brown Bag has linked to Mercury, and “Whale Song from the Corners of Eternity,” linked to Neptune.
“We still stand.” An Agnostis/Ormson collaboration dedicated to ongoing and growing movement for change driven, in part, by the activism of #MMIWRiders and #mmiwg #rideformmiw #NoMoreStolenSisters keyboard, composition, photos and video randy anagnostis. lyric, background sounds, and vocal gregory ormson Original song, “Indigenous Souls.”… read more...
Truer than ever before, much of the world was asleep in their screens during 2020. Television, cell phones, and computers offered connections during the worst of the world-wide pandemic, but connections sans touch.
Such connections seem void of what I’d call true encounter. An incarnated connection is more real for it’s in the flesh and is sustained over time by meeting, greeting, touching or holding intimate space for one another.
Emerging from the last year of sleep and screens, 2021 is sparking a new consciousness. We are realizing something critical to the survival of Earth and the human species. We need to talk with one another.
I’m discovering that as we sit down together and engage we learn how to listen again. Listening teaches how build and sustain by giving, taking, and willingly offering disclosure and feedback. This happens when we “talk story,” a phrase and practice I learned from the Hawaiians. Talking story is no small thing. It’s the way movements start, and the way the medicine wheel ride started.
Talking story, the indigenous women spoke about the missing and murdered sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins, daughters, and grandmothers they knew – from all nations – they realized the tragedy was three-fold. First, that it happens at all. Second that it happens at an alarming rate among indigenous peoples than anywhere else; and third, that nobody was talking about it.
These crimes continue to break and destroy the bonds of family and community everywhere but especially on indigenous lands.
The Medicine Wheel Ride was formed for awareness, disclosure, feedback, justice, and change.… read more...
Music spoken word by Gregory Ormson, Russell Thorburn, Darrell Syria.
“Your Dirty Little Lies,” is dedicated to us for putting up with the dirty little of the politicians; this protest music and word piece emotes that story. An Anagnostis/ Ormson piece recorded in Mesa, AZ.
I’m pleased with this music, video, and word piece edited and created by Randy Anagnostis; with collaboration from Gabriel Thorburn’s photo of mountain sheep and lyrics from the poem, “Many Names Have Never Been Spoken Here,” written by Russell Thorburn during their father-son Mohave Preserve National Parks Residency in 2013. Vocal interpretation of Thorburn’s poem by Gregory Ormson. It’s always fun to work with creative artists. Thanks Randy, Russell, and Gabe. #randyanagnostis #artistscollaboration #russellthorburn #gabethorburn #GRSound #spokenword #musicvideo #mojavenationalpreserve
… read more...
It’s one of the songs you’ll hear on St Paddy’s Day (Wednesday, March 17), at Starbucks in Apache Junction. Details below:
Irish music takes you into its culture hook, line, and sinker. It’s more than just music, known for telling powerful stories of resistance and sacrifice, land and liberty, love and loss; it cants of a thirst for the grog and flare for the poetic. Irish music is memorable for its strong rhythm and structure linked to true stories.
WHERE? Apache Junction Starbucks
Delaware and Apache Tr.
WHEN? St. Patrick’s Day
March 17 4:00 pm
*Bring a can food donation for our local shelter
*** WIN THE LIMERICK CONTEST & GET A STARBUCKS GIFT CARD ***
Sickness Givers and the Shape of Hope part I. 2:22 (Navajo)
Sickness Givers and the Shape of Hope part II. 3:01 (India)
The 2020 Pandemic has morphed into ‘the sickness’ of 2021. Hear my story of shapeshifters in India and Dine’ country with ominous keyboard by Mr. Randy Anagnostis in my take on the shape shifting pandemic.
On November 3, 2016, five days before the last election, The Good Men Project ran “We Must Talk About Losing: a parable about men and the pursuit of success, with and without mindfulness and The Golden Rule,” an article I wrote. Part of that piece is below; a link to the full article is included at the end.
. . . Mythology names the overindulged juvenile with an ego problem the purer; with no boundaries or appreciation for others. Purer doesn’t understand the laws guiding action and consequence, he can’t fathom the seeds of sacrifice or courage.
Purer sees everything as competition and does not examine his need to win. Once, someone taught him to steal, and then he learned to lie and cheat. His tool box featured abuse and control; fear and intimidation are the hammer and saw. Acting with impunity, greedy spirits ruled this man and he became “successful.”
He lived in one world and his spirit developed a shadow, casting coldness on his appetites and desires. His public identity left him insecure and defensive. He never had enough. He lashed out at others, ending each day in bitterness and frustration. He felt empty and wanted more. Evermore.
Senex is the wise elder, sharing and understanding him/herself as part of a community and family. His/her village raised a large garden and offered food to neighbors and the poor. They didn’t begrudge the poor, but gave thanks for their work. When a community member needed help on a roof, money to assist through hard times, or assistance feeding an ill child, he was there.… read more...
In 2014 I wrote Guns ‘R US, part one which was published by The Good Men Project. They just featured part two, “Life in the Shooting Empire.” Thank you GMP. Link to full story below via The Good Men Project.
For Guns ‘R US part two, click this https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/guns-r-u-s-parf-ii-lbkr/
If Arizona were to adopt an integrated austerity program, we could stop COVID. It would require 40 days of isolation, but without doing it, COVID will drag on and the Arizona Republic will keep limping along with no solution.
A committed public and government could “Get it Done in 21,” but my suggestions will be unwelcome to an American public driven by an outlandish notion of freedom; they will also be insulting to a governmental and industrial/technological base that has never been asked to work across boundaries for a common goal that has everything to do with the common good but nothing to do with profit.
Of course, specific steps would be the challenge here, and it would take leadership and coordination. But I thought that’s what government was about. Since nobody is talking about what to do, rather wasting energy by pointing fingers and blaming, I’ll say what we must do.
These 9 steps require coordination between Government and the fields of Education, Public Safety, Medical, Technology, Transportation, Banking/Finance, Utilities and power.
Each service sector will have to forego the safety and comfort of their tribal bubble and work together for the first time ever. If they did, we would stop COVID. This is what it takes:
- Suspend all interstate travel except for food, medical emergencies, and bereavement travel. If someone comes in from another state, they’d be in a two-week required quarantine.
- Limit gasoline purchases 5 gal week smaller cars 10 gallons week larger vehicles. The exceptions are official vehicles for food, public safety, and medical. Stay home.
- Curfews for everyone 10 pm to 7 am.
Artists’ respond, aiming to align wonder, word, and music. They lean into imagining what the tree sees in relationships, in children, and in backyard dreams. Thorburn’s tree is a witness to life in the yard, the house, in the sky above, and the buckling sidewalk below; the whole tree-is-us in our tangled roots and bent branches, our rancors and revelries, and our brittle bark tattooed by the scars of our days.
We are like every tree and its intangible roots beneath the sidewalk, reaching from yard and house to neighborhood and back again. Enmeshed below ground, trees know things and their hidden network chronicles the backyard’s rich saga: kids climbing and laughing in the branches, people in houses looking back at the tree from behind windows, and the green sky of aurora borealis above.
In our winter of pandemic and discontent, the tree is abandoned by yellowing leaves born away by freezing winds, shivering branches, and dropped to their winter-burial grounds “Everything I know I’ve learned from trees,” a friend from Michigan wrote to me the week before Christmas. I love trees too, but not everyone does; and his note reminded me of the politician who said, “When you’ve seen one redwood you’ve seen ’em all.”
I pity those who see every tree the same. It’s a different kind of poverty from the ‘poverty of spirit,’ which the Gospels praise. Bereft of wonder, one is left with a forlorn poverty of being. Such a fool, unable to appreciate music, art, poetry, or trees, may have a heart pumping lifeblood through his/her veins and arteries, but they are dull in their feeling function, incapable of beholding a Christmas tree or any tree in wonder and awe.… read more...
It’s good to see your leadership taking steps to become inclusive. I applaud it, and think it’s long overdue. My mentor taught me the power of inclusion in 1975 and this has, in part, driven my life decisions including my failures, successes, and priorities. Harley Davidson, you’ve been kind-of-a-closed club to a lot of people in the past, and you have catching up to do, but you are on the right road to foster change and diversity.
It can’t be news to leadership that few traditional Harley Davidson riders listen to Tupak Shakur. Most would probably categorically dismiss him and his music, and not many would recognize a Tupak rap. So when the December issue of The Enthusiast arrived – I was shocked to read several lines from Tupak printed on the full p.5. (right). Looking back at The Enthusiast covers from 1916 up to 2003, the lack of diversity in that magazine – compared to your emerging priorities – is striking.
Starting with HOG editor Matt King’s welcoming letter for issue 48, in 2019, I saw a new emphasis and read that Harley Davidson’s goal was to “grow ridership by as much as 2 million new riders by (in 10-years) 2029.” It signaled a change in your publications and a new outreach to diverse audiences by including: young people, women, and non-white riders not only in photographs but also in stories.
One large subtitle in the article, “Coming to America,” a diversity feature story, quoted Freddie Franklin, a Milwaukee rider: “Harley Davidson has brought all ethnicities, races, genders, and cultures together, and it’s just been an incredible experience.”… read more...
If my friends could get out of their summer houses, we met at the diamond to sharpen the angles of our wild fastballs. The guts of our dirty brown ball unraveled like a tongue, wagging at the glove skipping by, hurling past the catcher in angry air like an exclamation point.
The neighborhood boys and I played in Little League as the North Menomonie Orioles. We met on green fields and became friends stitched together by bonds of wood and leather.
We tried—and failed—to throw a curveball, cursing the cowhide and dreaming of the day we’d be big and twist a ball that skipped away from trouble. To be young and play ball allowed me to dream big.
Summer passed quickly in Wisconsin, and every game was a life event I couldn’t miss. I lived to swing a bat, and if a bus filled with ballplayers drove by my house, I raced to Wakanda Park to compete against other kids for foul balls during games.
Living near Lake Superior, I wrote a song about Billy, the pony my daughter rode. We walked to the lake and then back to our house on the trail shown below. This week, I recorded that song after it sat in my files over 20 years. Photo below is Ashley riding her pony Midnight (left) then Billy and Briana with me holding Billy. If not, he bolted up county road 550 in Marquette toward Big Bay.
recording notes: audacity program, Washburn HG1, Boss amp. Lyrics, arrangement, guitar and harp Gregory Ormson. “Up 550” registered @BMI.
מאת Gregory A. Ormson. A writer and yogi from Israel asked to translate my yin yoga article for publication there. The copy below is it for my Hebrew reading friends. Yoga writing now published in five languages.
כתבה שהוא פרסם בפייסבוק ב- 27 ביולי 2020
למתבונן מבחוץ yin yoga נראית תירגול קל ופשוט אך זה ממש הכל חוץ מתירגול קל. מבחוץ נראה שהמתרגלים ישנים, או נחים בכדי להכין את הנשימה שלהם לתרגול ממריץ שעלול לבוא אחר כך. במצב “מנוחה” זה משהו אכן קורה. אבל זה לא שינה; גם זה לא תרגיל חימום לסדרה נמרצת הבאה.
תירגול של yin yoga מוביל לפתיחה פנימית מלאה שלוקח זמן להתנסות ולהבין אותה באופן מלא.
אחרי ש Gregory Ormson התחיל לתרגל yin yoga הוא הבין שהאתגר ב yinהוא נפשי ופסיכולוגי. הוא למד שהעקרונות היסודיים של yin שהם ויתור וכניעה – הם המפתח להשפעה הפסיכולוגית, הפיזית והיעילות של התרגול על ידי: כניעה, שחרור, וויתור. מבחינה פסיכולוגית, הכניעה ביוגה היא המפתח לכל דבר.
מזמין אתכם להתבונן פנימה, ותמתינו לכך שהקול הפנימי שלכם יומר לכם מה צריכים לרפא. לשחרר את ההתכווצויות בצוואר, בלסת, בכתפיים, את האי הנוחות בגב, ובקדמת הגוף. קחו נשימה ארוכה ושחררו אותה לאט. תרגישו איך בגוף משוחרר ומקורקע. למתרגל yin yoga, ככה זה מרגיש על בסיס קבוע.
השיעור yin yoga מביא אותנו לתחום של healing בו אנחנו משחררים משהו שאנו מגנים עליו או במשהו שאנו מתגוננים ממנו . זה מוחזק בגופנו, בפאסיה שלנו ובמוחנו. ב yin אנו מוזמנים לשחרר מתח, להפנות את המודעות שלנו פנימה ולהיפתח בכניעה ובאמונה ללב yin yoga המרפאת הזו. “… read more...
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.
Video of wild Mustang grazing in the Arizona desert, filmed by Randy Anagnostis and accompanied by his original music and keyboard playing. We collaborated on a project which asked for a reading of Earth Teach fitted to a natural scene.… 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...
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
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...
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...
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.… read more...
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.
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...
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...
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...
Thank you BAD YOGI MAGAZINE for publishing yogainspirationals 75. Read and share.
Thank you #YOGANECT for publishing yogainspirationals number 74.
During my seventh year practicing yoga I started learning the sitar.
Immediately I realized it was a hard instrument to play and its technology is ancient: there’s a huge gap between frets and the strings which are painful on the fingers; the metal sitar pic winds tightly on the finger and pinches; the instrument’s lightweight strings go out of tune easily and there are 21 of them; but most of all, the traditional playing style requires sitting on the floor with the left leg crossed under the right while the sitar neck rests over the right thigh with the sound gourd perched on top of the left foot. This position is hard on the left knee, back, legs, hips, and both ankles.
At one point during my practice in the last few months, I started doing yoga before playing. I needed to set my legs, hips, and back at ease. When I did this first, I realized I could sit longer and concentrate better and my yoga practice tied directly to sitar practice became my daily ritual.
This two-step approach to sitar practice – beginning with yoga – became my entre into the world of classical Indian music. I now view yoga as my commencement ritual, and I won’t even try playing sitar without first doing yoga, or at the very least, until after breath work. Yoga and sitar, including savasana, tune me up for my day; now I hesitate to go out in public before this commencement.
A NEW TAKE ON AN OLD SKILL
I sang in a boys’ choir at age 10 and once performed with a small group at the World’s Fair in New York at age 11.… read more...
The last Sunday of the month (March 31 and April 28) meet 10:30 am in the west parking lot at Superstition HD. On the 31st, we’ll ride about 20 minutes to a private spot close to the Superstition Mountains.
There we’ll spend 20 minutes in mindful presence and do a simple breathing exercise. Then we’ll walk to our parked bikes where I’ll demonstrate – and you practice – six ways to use your motorcycle as a prop for stretching.
The entire ride and stretch movements will only take about 75 minutes; afterwards, people can go their own way.
This is not an all-out yoga class, but a 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 motorcycle is a steady prop, but also movable which means we can use it anywhere; and that’s the beauty of the stretch ride, where we focus on both conscious breath (with awareness) and easy stretch moves designed to keep us riding longer.
I hope to see you on March 31 and/or April 28 as we collect our place and presence in the midst of busy lives.
ps The stretch ride will also include a few safety tips I’ve learned as a MSF rider/coach. It never hurts to have a reminder about safe riding so that we can stay in the saddle.
“Conducting the Awesome: What I’ve Learned from 7 Years of Hot Yoga” is live on elephant journal.
This is my 11th article for elephant journal since September, 2014, and the latest installment (73) of what I call YogaInspirationals, a collection of my yoga writing published by elephant and 12 other national and international magazines, Websites, and public social media sites.
I write lyric nonfiction and hybrid, and right now I’m pitching my latest work – a hybrid nonfiction piece – on drumming, and things that happen when I go to a rustic cabin in northern Wisconsin I share with my brothers. I call that place Oz no matter what roads I take to get there. It’s Oz to me even without a wizard, a Toto, or a Dorothy.
Thank you for comments, support, resharing, etc., Let’s keep on conducting the awesome in yoga, in writing, and in life.
Once upon a time a mystical movement became water and moved from east to west. The gurus of this movement dreamed it would take root, grow, and change people in the new land. A bold vision drove their mission; they were certain and sure. The gurus taught students but were confused by them. They were tall, loud, and rich, but they listened to their gurus and absorbed the way of wisdom and ancient discipline.
The gurus were overwhelmed by bright neon lights and an infant culture. They misplaced prayer beads and lost their way. Their movement danced and shape-shifted. It wasn’t what the gurus expected but better than they could have hoped for. In a short time, the practice prospered.
Many in the new land feared it, but someone discovered it was good for prisoners, alcoholics, the sick, those suffering pain, and even angry youth. The rich and healthy began to think that perhaps the gurus offered good medicine.
Western teachers, overlooking spirituality of the way, taught their version. The culture moved fast, like a river’s rapids. Westerners, motivated by money, fed off the illusion of freedom. The west land had great diversity and creativity; and when coupled with entrepreneurial spirit, energy drinks, and ambition, yoga flowed across the land. This was, after all, the guru’s original vision.
The movement became a symbol of youth, change, and the culturally hip. Athletes and celebrities endorsed the practice and photographs of yogis posed in peacock asana were featured in glossy magazines, billboards, and Instagram glossies.
But the Eastern gurus’ mystical remnant became a vanishing dream, a memory from a place and time long past.… read more...
Thank you OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine (UK) for publishing my 72nd YogaInspirational, “Traveling OM,” December, 2018
By Dr. Gregory Ormson
THE POWER OF OM: rediscovering the deep, abiding peace of coming home in a frantic world.
“We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion-year old carbon…” Lyrics from the song Woodstock suggest that we are made of cosmic energy and matter. We have a hard time believing it because there are very few places that affirm such a grandiose and luminous being. But when we yoga, we participate in a pattern that moves the stars, and positions us to touch an inner OM at the core of our being.
In a soft chant of OM, rooted and expressed from the core, our cares are set free. Then we note our deepest truth: we are beings at one with a divinely animated critical mass of stardust and carbon waiting to meet and welcome us home.
But cultural voices bombard us with an unending cacophony of negativity and dismissal. This poisonous milieu is designed to make us feel small and inadequate, serving us from a menu of strife and anxiety. News and current events can leave us feeling like we’re a nonsignificant cog in a great drama that’s happening elsewhere.
The world is effective at labeling and objectifying. It does so with convenient categories submitted for fast indexing and stereotyping: age, race, sex, job, income, and education level. But a mountain is more than a geode, a river more than an eddy, men and women more than insignificant pieces of something more important.… read more...
Yoga for Bikers is restarting Nov. 14, at 4:30 in the Eagles’ Nest at Superstition Harley Davidson. One Wednesday a month, riders and anyone interested will gather for simple movement and breath work. This beginner level class is open to anyone. This is offered to riders because when sitting a long time on the bike, it helps to move and open up the areas where we feel tightness: hips, shoulders, and neck. The purpose is to keep riders in the saddle by working gently toward flexibility and balance.
The new aspect of Yoga for Bikers this year will be a one-time per month ride to a second location. There, yoga teacher and former Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider/coach, Gregory Ormson, will show how riders can use their bikes as props in what we are calling the “Stretch Ride.”
We’ll start with a few simple breathing exercises, and then use the bikes to help us stretch. The entire class will only be 30 minutes. We’ll keep it fun and practical so you can do these stretches on your own whenever you stop.
The first stretch ride will be on Nov. 25. Meet at Superstition HD at 10:30, ride out to the Butcher Jones Recreation Site where we’ll park the bikes and use them in simple movements. If you don’t have a bike, don’t worry; they are big enough for two. After that, riders are on their own to enjoy the rest of the day but armed with some new ideas on how to stay in the saddle.
SUPERSTITION HARLEY DAVIDSON FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/2283158711912197/… read more...
Asana is the body of yogic truth, and individual expression of yoga’s eight limbs reveals the efficacy of its healing medicine. Yogis breathe deeply in yoga and experience a perceptual shift. This new vision opens to the sacred horizon at which we gaze, and the shift – formed in concentration and attention – purifies our dysfunctional self by transmuting negative poison.
Asana and breath follow and yogis learn to re-route any short-sell of self. These elements move us from the core where a magnanimous grounding in the foundational principles (of yoga) proves yogis can handle the dreadful deceits and misapprehensions of our avidya (misperceptions and their consequences).
Asana, and the individual embodiment of asana, is made for flawed and taut souls; its work is to release the human beings caught in a play – sometimes not of their own making – as through asana yogis are welcomed into the practice of ease and steadiness . . . where they begin with the exhale.
Following the exhale, and its gentle massage of the nervous system, yogis take the deep inhale and their bendable habit grows to a lifetime practice. We keep on keepin’ on and stand in true presence where feet meet the ground.
Blossoming directly into self-care, yogis open like the petals of a lotus in a soft rain, and through the soul dialysis in yoga’s energy exchange, every samskara (action with intention) is transformed.… read more...
YogaInspirationals number 72 #motorcyclingyogiG
I remind myself that in spite of the surrounding maladies, I must manage to hope. I also counsel myself, and anyone who will listen, that the yoga we do is not just a hobby or something to fill up the time; rather, it is the door through which happiness and joy enter into an arena where we share a divinity that transforms stories from iatrogenic to generative.
Thanks to Sivana east for publishing my 70th yoga piece (yogainspirationals).
Thanks also to: Yoga International, Yogi Times, elephant journal, Asana Journal, Do You Yoga, Hello Yoga, Tribe Grow, Seattle Yoga News, The Yoga Blog, The Health Orange, Medium, Boa Yoga, and AZ Rider Southwest.
#yogainspirationalsnumber70, #motorcyclingyogiG, https://gregoryormson.com, #amwriting, #arizonayogateacherandcoach, #mottoyoga #yogaandleather #superstitionharleydavidson
68th published yoga article, Issue 187 ASANA JOURNAL
Louie Netz, Director for Harley-Davidson’s Styling and Graphics Department once said, “Form and function both report to emotion.” It’s likely when observing a yoga pose, or the stylish symmetry of a Harley-Davidson taking a curve, to believe motorcycles are about speeding through curves and yoga is about perfectly aligned asanas.
A yogi on the mat or a Harley-Davidson on the highway both perform their function at a high degree and garner attention, but the brilliance of yoga – and a great motorcycle – is its move from form to function and ultimately to emotion.
Like many newcomers, when I started yoga, I thought it was about what I saw; and I noticed people bending into forms that were – at first – perplexing. I also thought it was about what I heard yoga could do for my injured back. I believed if yoga could heal my injuries I would feel better and that would be all I could expect.
My yoga evolution was gradual; I practiced to feel better, then to learn good alignment and accomplish more asanas. As a dedicated student, I paid attention to words from my teachers as they led me to correct placement of my feet and hands. I followed their instructions which led me through breathing techniques and transitions.
But right away, I sensed there was something happening well beyond what was taking place on my mat. I didn’t know, but I was on my way to connect, or yoke deeply to my full self, and at the same time, something much broader and deeper than just me.… read more...
The movement became unpredictable, and while nobody took credit, yoga unveiled a curtain and people looked through the mirror to a radiance within. Westlanders were distracted; they didn’t listen to gurus and didn’t read books, but they took to their mats and became present with themselves. They remembered their joy and opened like the petals of a lotus in soft rain.
LOOK WHO IS “DOING IT” WRITING ABOUT YOGA!
Yogi Times Profile:
https://www.yogitimes.com/profile.php?personid=1f088e40ede195abf93ba8668a60eb0f&secid=232389dc98a87dbb07e1099753b73ddb… read more...
Slow Down and Breathe
Yogis have been attempting to articulate the importance of pranayama for centuries, and the effort is still relevant because when a person starts yoga it doesn’t take long for them to realize its a breath centric practice which changes everything.
The practice of pranayama is an important observance by itself, but is often done in haste, as if a couple minutes at the beginning of class is sufficient warm-up for the real work of asana.
Patanjali wrote, by the right control of breath, we overcome ignorance. Breath work is a hallmark of the yogi’s intelligence, and control of breath is intimately linked to the yogi’s heightened awareness of biological and cosmic forces.
Approaches to Pranayama
It’s important to concentrate on breath or prana as a distinct activity with its own benefits and techniques as well as a guiding anchor for asana. Some yoga practices start with pranayama before asana while others pay attention to activating and sustaining ujaii breath throughout asana and pause occasionally to work on pranayama.
Another option is to end practice with a breathing set. But to fully activate the vital life force, central to building the foundation for yoga and life, attention to breath throughout must be paid.
Pranayama isn’t something to rush through in order to get to asana. One 80 year old man I know got the right idea after his first-ever yoga class at YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers. His replacement knees made it difficult for him to bend, and his large body ached, but he did the pranayama exercises – practicing inhale and exhale – while observing others do asana.… read more...