Healing Hamilton

Assisting you on your path to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being.

Showing posts with label motorcycle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motorcycle. Show all posts

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Me & My Motorcycle

M is for Motorcycle

My 2011 A-Z post for the letter "M"  was  about my motorcycle.  Sorry folks, I'm doing it again this year - but this time I'm not even going to try to tie it into by blog theme.   It's a non-sequitur all the way.

Last April I had put down a deposit on a Honda 250 and it was delivered in early June.  Here's me and my new motorcycle on delivery day.

Hubby and I headed out on our first motorcycle road trip in 20 years.  We packed up the bikes

and headed to Calabogie in northern Ontario so hubby could get some track time. 

We spent the next few days riding around Calabogie enjoying the scenery

We had such a good time on those roads we're going back again this year.  

Can't wait!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Book Review for GBE2

Some of you may know that after a 20 year break I started riding a motorcycle again 3 years ago.  Last summer I got a new bike (picture here) and have really enjoyed being back on the road.   For Christmas my hubby gave me a book about woman and motorcycles written by a local author and motorcycle instructor Liz Jansen.

The book, Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment  is a collection of 50 stories of women and their motorcycling experiences interspersed with Liz's personal story of how she transitioned from a corporate career to running a motorcycle touring business.   The overall theme of the book is finding yourself through change and challenge.

As I started the book I found myself thinking that, other than riding a motorcycle, I really didn't have that much in common with these women.  But I kept reading.  I personally know a couple of the featured woman and was looking forward to their stories.   The more stories I read, the more I thought.  And the more I thought the more I realized that I too had overcome several barriers to be out there riding on the road.  Some of these barriers were self-imposed, others had been imposed upon me.  I felt my perceptions continue to shift as I read through chapters like "Dealing with the Unexpected", "Connecting with Spirit" and "Leading with your Heart".  

Eventually I realized the insight Liz and these ladies were sharing wasn't limited to motorcycling.  It could be applied to any type of challenge.   The timing of this book in my life was impeccable.  Some rather unwanted change was occurring and I needed to work through it.   The thoughts, ideas and inspiration I found in those pages really made a difference in how I reacted to that change.  Releasing my resistance and embracing a new direction has resulted in a more grounded, more expansive and more inclusive experience than could ever have been possible before.

I will admit this book is not going to win any literary awards .  But what it lacks in scholarly finesse it more than makes up for with spirit and intuition.

I'd like to share a passage from the book I found particularly inspiring:

"We are riding our own rides.  We've developed and honed our instinctual skills, connected with our wild nature and now embrace it.  We love who we are and embody empowerment and joyful and full living in all aspects of our life.  We are change agents and leaders, often in subtle, unplanned ways and without even being aware of it.  We're closer than ever to who we are.  We know our power is there and how to use it appropriately.  All we have to do is call on it."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

No Judgment Day Here...

My numero uno pet peeve is people who judge relentlessly.

There are so many different ways to express our spirit.  

Live and let live!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Motorcycle Mama

"M" is for Motorcycle

I know motorcycles have very little to do with the theme of my blog.  There is a connection however, between the Tai Chi principle of pushing from the feet and riding a motorcycle.  Click here to read my previous post on this subject.  However, today I chose motorcycle as my "M" word because I'm getting a new motorcycle this year.  After a 20 year hiatus from riding (too busy raising kids and working full time) I got back in the saddle a couple of years ago.  Since then I've been riding my hubby's hand-me-down 1985 Honda Interceptor, which he's owned since new.  It's been a great bike and we're sorry to see it go, but it's just not worth the investment to keep it running any longer.

Here's a picture of the bike I'll be buying - a 2011 Honda 250 CBR.  Not sure what colour mine will be - whatever colour the local Honda dealership gets will be just fine. 

Here's a fun ride down memory lane with the Hondels.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tai Chi: Bringing the principles into daily life - Part 3

In part 1 we explored  the importance of relaxation and the connection between thought, emotion and posture.   In Part 2 we focused on body awareness.   Part 3 introduces the concept of pushing from the feet.  These are only 3 of the many important Tai Chi principles.    As you deepen your Tai Chi practice you'll deepen your understanding of the principles.  As you deepen your understanding of the principles, you'll deepen your Tai Chi practice.   And round and round you'll go.  ENJOY!

Part 3 - FEET FIRST   

Pushing from the feet through the spine to the top of the head is a crucial Tai Chi principle.  The force generated from the feet is what drives every Tai Chi movement and gives Tai Chi its incredible power.  "Push from the feet" sounds simple enough.  As my own teacher often reminds me: It is simple, but it's not easy.   So, how do we go about developing this principle?

In her practical book "Tai chi as a path of wisdom" Linda Myoki Lehrhaupt gives a great imagination exercise to help you develop your connection to your feet.  She has you imagine you are a tree, with "roots reaching deep into the earth.  Your lower body is the base, like a tree trunk it supports the weight of your upper body.  Your head and arms are the branches of a tree, reaching ever upward, extending out from the solid base."  If you think this sounds interesting, give the exercise below a try.  If it doesn't appeal to you skip ahead to "Rooting".

Tree in a Heavy Storm (from "Tai chi as a path of Wisdom")

"Imagine it is a warm sunny day and you are a tall, healthy tree enjoying this glorious day.  Your leaves absorb the sun's rays, and the warmth spreads through your body.  Your roots reach deep into the earth and draw water upward to nourish the leaves and branches.  There is constant movement within you, and yet you stand immobile.  Imagine that a wind is beginning to blow.  Raise your arms into the air and feel what it would be like for your branches to dance in the wind.  At first the movements are light and playful.  But as the wind turns into a storm, your movements become grander and more sweeping.  Remember that you are a great tree with deep roots.  So no matter how big your movements become, you remain rooted to the spot.  Your feet stay planted right where they are.  After you have moved vigorously like a dancing willow in a spring breeze, imagine that the wind is slowly dying down.  Come gradually to a halt.  Stand quietly for a minute or two, observing any sensations."


If you prefer to think in more traditional Chinese terms, you'll enjoy www.taichisociety.com where they refer to the feet first principle as "rooting".  They tell us that "Rooting is one of the most significant aspects of Tai Chi practice. Rooting means the feet are rooted into the ground by physically sinking the body weight. The whole body must be sung (relaxed) and the Chi must sink to the Tan Tien ( located two fingers-width below the navel ) so that the power generated from the feet can be transferred to the upper body. Each joint and muscle drops individually towards the ground, enabling them to move independently of each other. When one is rooted the upper body is empty, the lower body full. With the whole body connected and working together, this initiates immense energy. Rooting also permits one's inner Chi to flow and connect with nature, and harness the energy coming from the earth."

Whether you're imagining yourself as a tree, or you're thinking your upper body is empty/lower body is full, pushing from the feet keeps your arms connected to your spine.  This adds significant endurance and strength to your arm.  You are no longer relying on your arm muscles - the mechanical structure connects your arms to your spine, which is very strong.

How to include pushing from the feet in your daily life:

  • When you're playing your favourite sport think about your feet.  Push from your feet when you swing a golf club or tennis racket or when throwing a football or baseball.  You will find that your swing/throw goes much further with significantly less effort on your part. 

  • Push from your feet through the top of your head anytime you have to work above shoulder level (like installing a light bulb) or have to keep your arms elevated for an extended period of time (like scraping the ice off your windshield).  

  • Push from the feet when you're walking.  This might seem a bit obvious, but many people (I used to be one of them) walk by picking up the leg rather than rolling from heel to toe and pushing off the foot.  The key here is in allowing the hips to relax and roll with the force generated by the foot.   The extra hip movement may feel a little strange at first, but this technique will increase your speed and stamina instantly.   There are many books available on the benefits and techniques of walking.  Check out "Chi Walking" by Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer

  • If you ride a sport motorcycle, try the following exercise.  DISCLAIMER: My motorcycle experience is limited to a sport bike.  The riding position on a touring bike or cruiser is quite different from a sport bike.  If you try this exercise on a tourer/cruiser you may have different results - like a crash!    If you've never heard of counter steering, or if you don't "believe" in counter steering, STOP RIGHT HERE -  DO NOT TRY THIS.  

    So, just to be clear, the following is intended only for sport bike-riding folks who use counter steering: 

    When setting up for a corner, gently push from both foot pegs, through your spine to the top of your head.  (Your foot pegs should be just behind the "knuckle" of your big toe - not under the arch of your foot).  Remember to keep your shoulders dropped, your core muscles relaxed and your tailbone pointing down.  This "roots" you so that the upper body is empty/lower body is full which, in riding terms, means it keeps your centre of gravity low on the bike and keeps your body weight off your hands.   Once you get the hang of it, turning corners - even the tight ones - will feel smooth and effortless.