Tag Archives: Seattle

Yoga for Cyclists

On Sunday my father and I went to a “yoga for cyclists” seminar hosted by teacher Kelli Refer from The Grinning Yogi in Seattle. I do not cycle, but my retired father rides every day, about 100 miles a week, sometimes more.

One thing I know for sure- whatever you do, yoga makes you do it better. So, I dragged him to the seminar, thinking something catered to cyclists would be a better time for a somewhat inexperienced yogi.

It was a great seminar, it was obvious the girl leading it had spent much time and energy writing and illustrating a book of yoga poses and breathing techniques for a cyclist.

Everything was very appropriate for the typical cyclist- there were sequences for 2 minutes and 5 minutes. Modified half sun salutations, quads, heart openers, and hips were emphasized.

At the end I asked what two stretches would be the best to do. I couldn’t imagine my father in our garage busting out sun salutations. She decided on a modified ‘wing pose’ and a modified dancer’s pose. My very favorite stretch was a super intense quad stretch we did by placing our shin flush to the wall and bending the opposite knee.

We all left with a poster and information sheet to refer to.

Kelli’s official Yoga for Bikers blog is here.

Buy a copy of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe here.

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“Take a deep breath, release stress, please rest-
Be blessed by a heartbeat and the essence of these texts
Peace kept with what the deity left: respect
And let the breeze lead me in these steps, we set
to reach the peak lest we meet death, terrestrial – at the
Sweet behest of the celestial decree-yes
Repeat “yes” we defeat weakness
Deep breath, feel the steez in effect, and let the breeze refresh…”

Common Market

Namaste everyone! We’ve made it to Friday…

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Mick Jagger in Salamba Sarvangasana

Uttanita: to stretch or open your perspective by looking at something in a new way.

The simplest way for me to think of the benefits of inversions is to think of gravity. All day we walk around on our two feet, our hearts pumping blood upwards to our brain. It sounds like a lot of work. In college I would spend hours a day sitting in front of a computer and feel completely useless and stale after about 3pm. When we go upside in poses such as headstand, handstand, shoulder stand, down dog and plow, fresh oxygenated blood runs to our head and rejuvenates us. This weekend I took an inversions workshop at Haute Yoga Queen Anne and learned all about the benefits of turning your perspective upside down.

My favorite benefits of inversions:

Can reduce shrinking. Most people will lose from 1/2 inch – 2 inches in height during their lifetime because of thinning discs. An active inversion program can help maintain more of your original height by keeping the discs in your spine supple. I am only 5’2″ I can’t afford to lose any of that.

Improve balance and body awareness. Inversion helps to develop balance awareness, which occurs when the upper regions of the inner ear are stimulated.

Strengthens the core.  Core strength is necessary to stabilize yourself upside down. Practicing inversions force you to engage your core so you don’t topple over, which gives you a six pack, which in turn makes you look like a bad ass. WIN.

Enhances ability to concentrate and remain focused. Inversions help increase oxygen flow to the brain, which consumes 25 percent of the body’s oxygen intake. Working on headstands and handstands builds up those focus and concentration muscles. My fear of falling in class keeps my focus in check in tri-pod headstand. Practicing focus and concentration on your mat will train your brain to stay engaged when it wants to wander.


  • Keep your core and ‘bandhas‘ strong to stay balanced. This will keep everything drawing to your centerline so you don’t look like a twizzler.
  • Breathe/meditate all of your nervous energy out so you aren’t over eager to kick in and out of balance. Do some sun salutations, smoke a joint, shake it out.
  • Use  a yoga buddy or wall to spot you so you don’t break your neck. Use a mirror: Come to three legged dog and look at your feet. If either are splayed or bowed, that’s the direction your leg will want to go in head/handstand. Practice with a straight line of energy from your head to your toe.
  • Think about where you are going. Don’t go on vacation to hawaii and bring a down jacket. Envision where your body wants to go in the pose and move there in a controlled, slow, observant way.
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