So many sights, sounds and stories occur over the course of a ride they cannot all be encapsulated. Three deer staring at me from the Southern Walnut Creek Trail (my home turf, stomping on the pedals grounds). I came upon two fellow bicyclists, Chad and Joey, fixing a tire. They were fine, but asked about my awesome bright yellow visor with the words BIKE AUSTIN emblazoned on it. (Bike Austin is a great bicycling advocacy organization I finally joined as a member — you can and should too! — and for whom I began volunteering a couple of months ago; I’ve been on some of their social rides, too.) Another rider had asked me while I was seated, putting on more clothes, if I “had all I needed.” (As a matter of fact, A Dude was without back-up tubes, a risky no-no). So, instant karma. There was the awesome sunset pictured above. And so on. The wonders never cease. Here’s the link to today’s map, data and other cool stuff on Strava (bicycling app).
I began the day by attending Quaker aka Friends Meeting, which is a generally silent meditation, though if people are so led they may stand and speak, as two elders did. A Dude has been meditating daily half an hour for almost a year, so this was a good way to check that off today’s to-do list whilst in the supportive company of others. Not unlike bicycling, while also purely an individual effort, when practiced in a group setting, meditation is just easier, somehow. Amidst the backdrop of traffic noise, a fussy baby, the occasional coughs and creaking building, I found a bit of peace and stillness that I tried to carry with me on the bike the rest of the day. Quakers are also into peace and simplicity, and biking certainly supports those values. If more people biked instead of drove a car, the U.S. military would have less need to invade countries for their oil, and there’d be less pollution, too. It’s certainly simpler and cheaper to bike than maintain and operate a car. (About $8,000 a year according to a local biking guru.)
But I digress.
Bicycling, as you know if you do it, and might imagine if you don’t or haven’t in a while, is very much a moving meditation. By nature the repetitive, sometimes even hypnotic strokes of one’s legs pumping out the miles can be really relaxing, while also of course involving alot of effort. Relaxing into it, keeping a calm, focused and alert mind, and sitting there unattached to whatever crosses the path makes the physical effort also a spiritual one. One needn’t be religious (A Dude is not) to appreciate the sublime pleasures (and pains — especially when cold like today and certain body parts are not comfortable) of being in and part of nature, rolling along, out for a lazy Sunday drive.
After the Meeting (and thanks to the Friends for a tasty potluck to help fuel me up!), A Dude found himself heading toward a yoga class he’s enjoyed. Eastside Yoga has donation classes on Sundays, and I made it just in time for Yin yoga with the lovely and amazing Kate. Yin yoga involves just a few poses held for longer times using bolsters, blocks and blankets to allow the body to relax further than it does in a non-supported pose. It’s really restful and great for reducing stress. So both meditation and yoga are good for biking (especially in reducing road rage), give it a try and see what you think.
Since A Dude also does a half hour of yoga daily (25 months and counting), it’s nice to be in a class where he knows he’s going to do yoga and doesn’t have to think about the poses. Did you know the vast majority of yoga students are women? 85%, according to William Broad’s The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards, which A Dude read last year and highly recommends. They are correctly called yoginis, by the way. He also cites studies showing that generally, while yoga is great for flexibility, strength, mental fortitude and much more, it is not a reliable way to lose weight. A Dude can attest to this. Sigh. Bike to eat and eat to bike, as they say. The struggle is real, and it continues. Upon leaving ESY, I found this perfectly appropriate yard sign:
Back to biking: today was the end of the week on Strava. With this ride, I passed 107 miles! So I’m on track for a 400+ mile month. If you were following me there, you’d already know that. 🙂 So this doesn’t go on, I’ll just end with these questions: What are the moments you create for yourself that are sublime, amazing, unforgettable, relaxing, awesome, beautiful and happiness-inducing? Get out there and ride a bike, and you’ll have alot of them, I guarantee it — if you’re paying attention. If you can’t bike, create them in your own way. I’d love to hear about it in the Comments. (It seems WordPress requires you to join to do that, so I’m working on it.) If you like this, like, you can totally like it below and tell all your friends. Meanwhile, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll check back soon for another posting.
4 thoughts on “Sunsets, Quakers and Yoginis (oh my!)”
Thanks, Owen! Coming from a professional writer that’s encouraging to hear. Really enjoyed tonight’s One Page Salon and wrote about that in a new posting maybe you’ll get a chance to read that and others. Any feedback is welcome!
Great stuff. I do love those Quakers.
dude, you are very beautiful. it’s a pleasant blessing that i am still on your list.
Ashok, it’s my pleasure to let my old roomie and artist friend know what I’m up to! -A Dude