Guest Post: @Jennyfromtheyogablock

We love the difference bikes can make in people's lives. Physically, mentally, philosophically - riding a bike often has a profound effect on how we take in the world and how we interact with our communities and selves.

In today's post, we're handing the blog reins over to Jenny Yarborough a.k.a. @jennyfromtheyogablock, who's blown us away for a while with her awesome shots exploring the world, her inspiring perspective on life in the 21st century, and her experiences making the transition from car to bike. Finding the balance between work, play, health, exploration, and fun isn't easy, but Jenny's a zen pro, and her insights have helped us improve our efforts at finding bikey-bliss too. Take it away, Jenny!:


More often than not, we travel to a place and get nowhere. We drive fast and forget to take it slow. But when I choose to cut my wheels from four to two (and my carbon footprint too), there’s a difference. There’s so much more growing rather than just going. When I ride instead of drive there’s an art to it. There’s a lot more awareness. There’s a raw adventure into the known and unknown. There’s a consciousness. Ride or let the mind die.

Like riding a bike, there’s an art to meditation––to quieting the mind, finding comfort in stillness. I know. I know! No one is really still on a bike. If you’re doing it right, your hamstrings are firing, your calves are engaged, etc., etc. And, when you’re riding uphill, your legs are on fire. Like, they’re actually hot. Sweat pours (especially in the heat of summer) and you tell yourself: no pain, no gain. But after a while, after all of that somehow subsides, everything else stops other than you. You keep going. Your body keeps on traveling. Your mind does the same but it travels a different road. It’s like there’s a switch. You were on. And now, even though you’re moving, you’re off. Your physical body, that is. You’re tuned out to tune in. Now, your mind is truly on. This is your moment of zen.

If you’re not into yoga or the whole Eastern philosophy thing, maybe you have it in your mind that meditation only comes in one form. Perhaps you have an idea of what this looks like. There’s a guy in a white dress sitting on the floor with a long strand of beads in his hands chanting Sanskrit you can’t understand. Sitting in sukhasana or easy pose is one way of doing it––yes. That’s meditation in the traditional sense. But mindfulness is something everyone can practice. Yes, even you. Yes, even while you’re cruising down the PCH on your fixie on the way home from work.

You know the feeling. We Westerners like to call it zoning out. Label it what you will. I call it meditation because it is.

As old as it is, meditation is a practice that people everywhere can use as a tool to turn off the negative and turn on the positive––to ride the breath, to feed the mind. Meditation in the most simplistic of terms is the act of being and, in being, finding contentment in the present moment. In a world filled with social media, this is our instant gratification. It’s the yogi’s “like” button to the here and now. For us, we don’t need Netflix to chill. We just meditate and chill. But for me, it’s easiest to do outdoors where I can truly appreciate all that’s in my view. Your eyes don’t have to flutter closed to properly meditate. That’s why I find my zen when best I spin.

So if your mind is doing most of the spinning, try to first simply notice your breath. Hear it as it rolls in and out. Maybe even count each inhale and each exhale. See if you can practice sama-vritti––a foundational pranayama or breathing technique––by inhaling for the same count as your exhale. It’s so easy to do even while biking and yet something just this simple actually engages the parasympathetic nervous system which allows both the body and the mind to disengage from stressors to more easily find relaxation and a clearer consciousness.

It’s time we slow down the breath and quiet the mind while attending to our need for speed on the road. We live in a fast world. So sometimes it’s okay to do two things at once like bike and meditate. Slow down to speed up. Maybe you already spin for zen.

Call it what you like. Whatever it is, it’s Pure.


Photo Credits: Chris Nieto (@nietophotography)