Asana Cycles is about integrating the bicycle into our daily lives. Its about the simplicity, freedom and quality of life that follows. Life on the bike is about YOU. Its your practice, its your life and its your experience. Asana Cycles is a guide of sorts in that direction.
For the last 13 years I have been on the bike daily, making it my primary means of transportation. The last 2.5yrs have been Car Free.
Asana is a sanskrit word, which basically means posture. It is a a root word, as in “Tadasana” or Mountain Pose.
“During all poses you concentrate on the space between the eyebrows, the third eye, the seat of the mind. As you concentrate, your mind and thoughts slow down, cravings and desires diminish, and you feel calm. It’s another way of enhancing mental focus and preparing yourself for meditation.
Each asana physically reflects a particular attitude: acceptance, surrender, balance or openheartedness. As you move into a posture, your body manifests the physical form of the attitude associated with it. You bypass verbal or rational understanding but you understand the pose emotionally.
In other words, standing tall and firm in Tadasana gives you the steadiness and foundation of a mountain. When you feel closed to someone or to some experience, a backbend will open your chest as well as your heart. If you’re shy, backbends will help you greet the world with more confidence. They also correct your spine and posture.
To master the balancing poses, it’s useful to employ some physics. Move the body weight toward the toes, off the heels, then press the toes into the ground. If you picture a tree, imagine your foot as the roots digging deeply into the earth and it will help you find stillness and correct your posture.
You can find further balance by gazing at a spot, which is called drishti. Usually this spot is on the floor in front of your nose. In a backstretch try gazing at a point on the ceiling.”
In the world of Devian, asana has come to not only mean the actual physical postures, but also the posture of mind. Often in our daily lives we become routine, and we develop congestion, lack of understanding, and/or more commonly, our habitual patterns produce a degree of suffering. Our actions, karma, and the way they influence our lives, the world, and all of time to come, dharma, are all aspects of what I’ve come to know as Asana Cycles.
Initially the focus is simply on asana, with a general idea of karma, the action of our karma, which is the wheel of dharma, which hopefully leads us to less suffering thru a degree of awareness, insight, understanding, or enlightenment. Finally we let go of those habitual patterns or even if we do need to repeat these things, like...drive a car to go pick up the kids, or visit distant relatives, at least we are not habituated, we have become aware, and therefore, hopefully we attain a degree of liberation.
Of all the things in my life that has remained consistent, its been the bicycle. In every aspect, bikes have been my sanctuary. Thru this medium I have discovered a practice which my entire life has been working thru. From viable economic transportation, counter culture lifestyle, a sanctuary in which to explore and push the limits of physical, psychological, and social boundaries, to pure and simple expression of whom I’ve become.
Once i went to bike school. Yes there is such a thing. United Bicycle Institute. At UBI one day during a frame building seminar the instructor had been going over various aspects, and when it simply came to using a jig, and orienting the various tubes, he had said, “to the frame builder the bottom bracket is the center of the universe.” Meaning that from the bottom bracket everything else radiates.
For those who don’t know, the bottom bracket (BB) is the part of the bicycle frame that the pedals, crank arms/crank assembly attach to via a bearing assembly (aka: bottom bracket). In this reference the BB is actually the BB “shell” of which is part of the bicycle frame. As compared to simply the BB “bearing”.
Anyways...i took this to heart. Suddenly it all came into perspective for me. That being...yes...for Devian...the center of the universe is the Bottom Bracket. Of all the things in my life that has remained, its been the bike. Fundamentally, what is the practice of being on a bike? Of course, its pedaling. And at what point does that reciprocating motion transfer into rotating motion. Its at the Bottom Bracket.
That is the first asana. To simply balance and pedal a bike. Freedom. Self sufficiency. Free transport, and the character/experience of being in self propelled motion thru our environ as never before in Human existence. Liberation and awareness of our actions. No where else are we immediately confronted with the fruits of cause and effect. In that light, we come to witness dharma, and ironically, we become aware of our actions, which brings attention to our karma.
The bicycle is ultimately about ourselves. Its a personal practice, that often radiates outward. In that light, its self reflective. When we are pedaling up that hill (climbing) in rhythm with our breath (paranayama) we are alone with our thoughts. To the degree at which we are natural and at ease with this method, this posture, this technique, this way, this asana, is a direct manifestation/product of our practice.
Just as it is so during a 50-mph descent when suddenly there is a broken up pallet in the road, and rather than squeezing the brakes, inducing more chaos, we simply bunny hop and continue. Just as in life, the exhilaration of certain moments, we are wise to not have attachment, and be open to change. However we need to have the skill to do so. Which of course is the practice of asana.
I know that not everyone is capable of riding a bicycle. Just as i am not capable of being an Astronaut, Physics professor, etc. This just happens to be the medium which i have come to know. However i do feel that, as Huxley coined the phrase, the “Perennial Philosophy” of this lifestyle is a viable path to reduce suffering, alleviate our habitual ways of life, ultimately leading us to liberation.
Peace, love and light