Support BikePortland

From bike lanes to yoga mats; Portland’s bike-yoga connections

Posted by on January 7th, 2009 at 10:40 am

Yoga and bicycling have more in common
than you’d think.
(Photo provided by Ellee Thalheimer)

In Portland, sometimes it seems like there are nearly as many yoga instructors as people on bikes. In fact, those two populations often seem to co-mingle.

A number of yoga studios around town offer deals for patrons who show up to class by bike, and a growing number of yoga instructors are taking the yoga-bike connection a step further by offering classes specifically tailored to the needs of everyday bikers, with particular attention on the muscles that are used the most in cycling. (These bike specific issues, and some suggested yogic solutions, were thoroughly outlined in Yoga Journal a few years ago.)

At People’s Yoga on Alberta Street, for instance, if you bike to class 10 times the 11th class is free.

Uma Kleppinger doing her thing on the mat…

…and on the road.

The yoga-bike cross-pollination might be more than just physical, so says Portlander Tasha Danner, who teaches a yoga for bikers class. “Yoga and cycling are very connected,” she wrote to us via email, “both allow fun, connection to community, focus, body and breath awareness and make us aware of our impact on the environment and those around us.”

Uma Kleppinger holds ongoing Bike Yoga classes at Health and Performance Chiropractic in downtown Portland. She offers drop-in classes focusing on “active recovery” and “core and flexibility.”

Another bike-oriented yoga teacher in Portland is Ellee Thalheimer. Ellee’s yoga expertise was featured in the July 2008 issue of Momentum Magazine (the article also includes some recommended yoga postures and stretches for cyclists).

Ellee teaches three classes a week (including two specifically for cyclists) at Belmont Yoga in Southeast Portland.

If pilates is where your heart is, there is also at least one pilates class in town geared toward bicyclists. Pilates bears some similarities to yoga but comes from a much different tradition. Amy Subach offers free, introductory classes geared towards bicyclists and other athletes. From the class description:

Learn how to use your core strength to pedal stronger and longer! Leave with some new moves to stretch and strengthen your legs and entire body.

The classes are at Portland Team Fitness at 3500 NE MLK Blvd (corner of MLK and Fremont). The free sessions are January 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st, from 8am to 9am. With questions or to RSVP, contact Amy at outstretch{at}gmail{dot}com.

If you know of other similar classes, feel free to post details in the comments. We’d also love to hear if you do yoga and how/if it has made your biking more enjoyable.

In the meantime, I know I’ll be seeing a lot of you out there on the streets and on the mats this year.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

20 Comments
  • Avatar
    jauna January 7, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I tried to email the address about the pilates class but it was bounced back to me…any thoughts?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    L January 7, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Michael Sylvester of Bicycle Fitting Services also teaches yoga.

    http://www.bicyclefittingservices.com/about.html

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Elly Blue January 7, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up, Jauna. I have corrected Amy’s email address for the pilates class: It’s actually:

    outstretch{at}gmail{dot}com

    I didn’t know Michael Sylvester teaches yoga as well. Thanks for the link!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    uma January 7, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I would add that if people can’t get to a cycling-specific yoga class because of schedule, they just get to a yoga class, period. Any flexibility training/active recovery is better than none. But for maximum benefit, private yoga ‘coaching’ is optimal to address chronic musculoskeletal imbalances.

    Thanks for the press, Elly. Namaste, er, ah… More cowbell!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Pete January 7, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I have been to Ellee’s class and It is excellent! I recommend it to everyone!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Stephen Upchurch
    Stephen Upchurch January 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Well I can certainly attest to the increased core strength and flexibility in just about every corner of my innately inflexible body. But what about the flying and invisibility? The article didn’t mention any of that. And yea, I take lots of classes with Uma.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Hannah January 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I have to plug BodyMechanics
    because Mandy rides her bike with an extracycle to class every day, and is great about working out the kinks after a long ride!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jon Bridenbaugh January 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I’m the “bicyclist fitter” that was interviewed for that article (this was over 10 years ago) while working at the downtown Bike Gallery. I was training under Michael Sylvester and taking Yoga from him at Julie Lawrence’s studio.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tasha January 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Just read this-thanks Elly! I’ll be holding more yoga-bike workshops at The Bhaktishop in the summer and spring. Yay to yoga and biking! More, please?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    brettoo January 7, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    My yoga teacher is also a cyclist, and she’s great about making sure to stretch our hamstrings. Most people, especially beginners, have tight hams, and it seems like cycling builds up and tightens certain muscles, and yoga counterbalances that by stretching them. Now that I’ve switched to an upright bike, my quads are getting stronger and tighter and she’s thrown in some extra positions that stretch those. Biking and yoga are a great combo.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    David Ross January 7, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Special workshop coming up at an Iyengar studio downtown.

    Julie Lawrence Yoga Center
    Yoga for Bicyclists
    Cindy Irvine, Bike Commuter
    Saturday, March 7 • 1:00 – 4:00 pm • $45

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jim Labbe January 7, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Elly,

    More stories like this please. It is interesting to see how biking permeates other aspects of our local culture.

    Some people may be aware of Portland’s international reputation for argentine tango. While there have been no peer-reviewed studies I know of, Portland’s population of tango dancers appears to have a high percentage of cyclists. Enough cyclists that there is a bike tango website (hosted by Jeff Mandel of exitshoes whose shoe making and bike saddle designs have been featured previously on bikeportland.org) and a dedicated community of tango cyclists that regular ride together to milongas. This would be a nice feature for bikeportland.org:

    http://www.exitshoes.com/bike/

    Jim

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Julie Browning January 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Gudmestad Yoga Studio offers several “yoga for athletes” classes. This is where Michael Sylvester teaches along with several other good teachers (between them they are runners, skiiers, cyclists and PTs).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jon Bridenbaugh January 7, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Oops, my mistake, it was Julie Gudmestad’s studio.

    http://www.gudmestadyoga.com/teachers_main.htm

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    bikieboy January 8, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Uma #5:”I would add that if people can’t get to a cycling-specific yoga class because of schedule, they just get to a yoga class, period.”

    ditto that. As an aging cyclist (well i guess we’re all aging, aren’t we?) I’ve found yoga to be a great way to maintain the flexibility that cycling – and aging – tends to deprive me of, and to enhance my comfort level on longer rides.

    and a shoutout for Portland Yoga Arts on NE Glisan/45th – great studio & people.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Sandy Crinklaw January 8, 2009 at 9:15 am

    As a cyclist and yoga instructor it is great to see the increased awareness of the benefits these two disciplines provide to the body and mind. This spring we will be opening a new venue in the Coast Range for those wanting to get away from the city by bike for the weekend, enjoy the natural enviroment and practice yoga in our new yoga studio. In the weeks ahead look for more on the Coastal Mountain Sport Haus.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Erik January 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Yoga is for posers.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Dylan McNamee January 8, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Core Power Yoga locations offer free mat rental to cyclists, which is a nice plus, and core strength is great for biking. During the cross season, my yoga classes there helped me recover between races.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tasha January 8, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Just another plug for The Bhaktishop-our mats are always free! And we host the yoga bike ride during Pedalpalooza. And we have FREE yoga on Wednesdays at 4 pm. And by donation yoga in Fridays. And lots of bike racks!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • […] 25, 2010 in Uncategorized Found this interesting article about the bike and yoga connection in Portland. With more classes in the […]

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar