Velo Devi \’vel-oh \ noun.
ve·lo 1. abbreviation for velocipede; of or pertaining to the bicycle.
de·vi 1. Sanskrit root word for ‘divine’
2. Sanskrit term for ‘goddess’
I go by the name Uma, who is an incarnation of the Hindu devi Parvati. I’m a bike racing, dirt riding, meditating, brainiac tomboy girlie-girl ninja yogini. I’m also an utter nobody. Often I’m the class clown, graceless and coarse, usually at the most inopportune times. Once I was elegant and serene, all grown-up-like, but I’ve traded my mortgage and publishing career for a daily yoga practice, a stable of bikes, a climbing rack, and a well-stocked fridge where the kombucha sits next to the beer.
I am a creative professional by day and a yoga teacher by night. In between, I ride my bike. I use to ride it a lot. I used to race quite a bit, too. A car accident and several surgeries later, here I am… just starting over again. Challenged, but undefeated.
When I am not coaching others into healthier states of body and mind or building websites and writing articles, I ride my mountain bike and soak my brain in the study and application of meditation and psychology. To me, meditation on a cushion is very close to meditation on the bike or on the rock. The external appearances differ, but each offers very similar internal challenges and opportunities to transform suffering into grace, to dig deep into one’s suitcase of inner strength, and to experience the indomitable human spirit—the heart of joy.
I started blogging a few years ago as a way of explaining to my yoga students that “real yoga” (not the exercises, but the psychological state and applied philosophy of yoga) isn’t bound to sticky mats, ashrams and meditation pillows. Throwing down in the local criterium, masterful arm balances, rocky descents, gnarly powder and tough cruxes can all bring us to a state of heightened consciousness. In other words, flow is where you find it.
Samadhi (a yoga term that describes being absorbed in a state of bliss) isn’t guaranteed in life, but it can be cultivated. I find mine on a mountain bike, or while writing, reading poetry, sipping a fine wine, or half a dozen other, ordinary experiences. I’m no guru and I make no claim to enlightenment. But I have seen glimpses of something bigger. Something sublime. It is my hope to drop in and ride with grace. Let’s ride!