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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Aug 5, 2008

Yoga: "Making Connection"

I have a new project. Last week I took my 20 year old bike in for a tune-up and replacement of almost every part that's replaceable. The Bike Shop. That was an adventure. I got a new seat and it turned out I needed a new seat post. They were out of cheap and ordinary seat posts and so this "bike guy" called me to ask me if I wanted a carbon fiber seat post. He told me that it is a new technology that has come out of the aerospace industry. I thought maybe I should call up Chris, my husband, or my brother Pat - both of whom are bike-savvy, and ask them if it seemed prudent to have an aerospace part on my old cruiser. But instead I said to the bike guy "Ummmmm, OK."

So anyway, I finally got my bike back from the shop and took it out for it's first ride in ages. It was a joy! Does this have anything at all to do with Yoga? Why yes, it does. Thank you for asking.

One of the definitions and rationales for Yoga is "to make connection." Yoga = Union: body and soul, mind and body, heart and mind. In a state of Yoga we are connected with one another, with our world, with the universe.......and beyond!

I have been driving back and forth to work for a long time and I am here to tell you that driving is dis-connecting. Driving is anti-Yoga. I've known this forever but I've forgotten it a lot. Today on my slow, 30 minute ride, I felt more connected to my community than I have in most of the 8 years I've lived here. As I was returning home from my maiden bicycle voyage, I saw one of my neighbors for the FIRST time ever! This smiling elderly man waved at me as I rolled by. I mean talk about dis-connection! This man only lives about 5 houses away!

As I toodled along on my newly resurrected bicyle, there was plenty of opportunity to connect in a good Yoga way with my body. I kept noticing how well inner spiral can happen while cycling; how nicely I could activate my adductors, how exactly I could monitor mula bandha and uddiyana bandha (sorry but after all, this IS a Yoga blog). And of course I was also monitoring how one must pay close attention to sustaining shoulder loop and a healthy lordotic lumbar curve (sorry again but I AM an anatomy geek).

And there's the Yoga of environmental connection. I have been inspired by so many people who have made the leap past their comfort rut and are commuting in greener ways. Born of that inspiration, the next phase of my project is to begin to bike and bus, cruiser and "Citilink", as my way of getting to work and home. And this will - I know! - bring a whole new level of Yoga into my life as I make connection with my body, my community, my bus-mates, my environment, the universe.....and beyond!


  1. OH . . . MY . . . GOSH!!! KAREN!!! Sorry to be so dramatic, but then again, it's justified. I know so little about yoga, but your vantage point captures so much universal bike experience! Thank you for your amazing post.

  2. I love this post.

    Now if we could only cycle without using our quadriceps. (I love to bicycle but my legs get bulky just looing at a bike!) I think there is also something so reminscent of childhood with biking. I always feel like shouting "WHEEEEE...."