Mesa author and yogi Gregory Ormson, seen here with Brina Brown, marketing director for Superstition Harley Davidson in Apache Junction, believes yoga is a relaxing and stress-relieving activity for anyone – even bikers. (Courtesy of Gregory Ormson)

The Lotus, Downward Facing Dog and Half Lord of the Fishes yoga poses are probably not exactly what you picture when you think about grizzled and weathered Harley Davidson motorcycle riders cruising the highways and byways of the Sonoran Desert. 

But bringing yoga and bikers together is exactly what Mesa author Gregory Ormson is all about.

And he’s written a book called Yoga Song, a series of 23 lyric vignettes, aimed at healing and restoration from the inside out. 

“The instrument of yoga’s song is the body which includes mind, spirit, emotion, and energy,” Ormson said. “Its melodies are alive in the sound of Om or a vocalized, heartfelt Namaste; others sing a yoga song in asana through their bodies or in a group exhale.” 

Ormson describes the moment of Om, during which “divine breath” puts the strategic and analytical brain on pause while firing the existential and experiential brain. 

“When we chant ‘Om,’” Ormson said, “we may discover that the only thing missing was our awareness that we are living embodiments to the truth that we’re beings made of stardust, formed in spirit, animated by breath, joyful and spontaneous at heart.”

Yoga Song is the culmination of Ormson’s years of experience as a yogi, or yoga master teacher.  

Known as #motorcyclingyogig, he has taught yoga to bikers since 2017 at Superstition Harley Davidson in Apache Junction, the only dealership in the country to hold yoga classes in its facility.

“Yoga is all about learning to relax in the midst of stress,” Ormson said. “And so is motorcycling. When teaching motorcycle riding, I noticed a few students having trouble on the bike. They tightened up and held their breath when trying to execute a tight figure 8 turn on the riding range. It was then I realized I could easily translate the lessons of yoga to bikers by teaching them to relax in the midst of stress.

“Bikers love movement and they are good at shifting their weight; and when teaching yoga to bikers, I try to integrate their language to the yoga process.” 

Ormson teaches bikers that riding a motorcycle is very much like doing yoga. Using your breathing, shifting your weight and relaxing your mind to achieve a calm and relaxed ride. 

“Bikers always notice they feel good when leaving a yoga class and when they learn to relax – by using the breath – when experiencing stress on the highway.”

Ormson earned his doctorate from the Chicago Theological Seminary ,where he studied the healing power of touch in ritual environments.  

Hurting his back after being bounced from a trampoline at 10, enduring a second back-injury while weightlifting in school, and falling from a roof at age 40, the self-described “born-to-be-wild” biker moved to Hawaii but was sidelined by debilitating back pain and couldn’t enjoy paradise. 

Dipping a toe into yoga, he discovered a healing road that reformed his mind and fixed his spine. 

“In yoga,” Ormson said, “we put away the agenda for just a few minutes in order to remember who we are as people, imbued with a divine spark that need not be named, tamed or claimed.” 

Yoga Song is a “message for the body,” Ormson said. “Of healing for the body, mind and spirit. Yoga meets this need by offering time for the busy to rest for a few moments, connect again to our fractured selves, and learn to breathe again. That brings us into wholeness and give us permission to focus on the moment and the experience.” 

The book is out now and available in stores and online.

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