SYN: What inspired you to start Bicycling Buddha?
Alyssa Lee: I have always had a thirst for knowledge, a desire to continue to grow as a human and a passion for caring for others. The latter brought me to the medical field (I have worked as a medical assistant for 13 years, and I am currently working on finishing my nursing degree). I suppose all three attracted me to Tibetan Buddhism. I made my first mala for my precious teacher and mentor. She was going on a trip to Africa, and I wanted her to have a gift before she left. Admittedly, I agonized over the stones I used, the design, everything! But when I put her mala between our hands, and felt the energy radiating between us, I realized that this was what I was meant to do. Up until that point, I was actually making jewelry out of recycled bike parts under my previous business name, “ReVeloed,” which is my play on words for “recycled bike!” Although that jewelry is still fun to make, it does not foster the same level of human connection that I have found in Bicycling Buddha.
SYN: What makes Bicycling Buddha different from other jewelry makers?
Alyssa Lee: Bicycling Buddha is not just a business, it is my passion and my joy, and the mala you receive from me will be a reflection of this. I make each and every one of my malas with pure love and good intentions, and when you receive one from me, you will feel that love. In turn, when you use your mala to dedicate merit, for meditation, or simply just hold for comfort, I can in turn, feel it too. I try to design malas that are unique works of art without losing their traditional meaning or function. I handpick all of the stones, I search endlessly for the finest materials and I am not BIG BUSINESS. I am a Seattle local, just making the art I love, right in my living room!
SYN: What are your most popular items this season?
Alyssa Lee: This season, the Vintage Alaskan Jade & Green Sandalwood Mala has been very popular. Also, my new gemstone triple wrap mala bracelets. They come in a variety of different gemstones! I will be adding a new line of bezel set stone necklaces this coming year, as well (I am also a lapidary artist). I am hoping it will also become very popular!
SYN: Tell us about your yoga journey.
Alyssa Lee: I am actually relatively new to yoga! I have taken a few classes over the past 15 years, but it hasn’t been until this year that I have really gotten excited about it! I was very blessed and honored to be a vendor at the Northwest Yoga Conference last Spring, where I met so many incredible local yogis. That event, and those wonderful people, inspired me to start doing yoga! In addition to the health benefits, I am also learning things from yoga as well! In the beginning, I worried what others thought about me when I was in a yoga class, especially when I was losing my balance (hopping all around) or was struggling to do a challenging pose. But then I realized that the yoga practice belongs to its practitioner, and my ego can fill a room if I let her! Yoga has provided another means of practicing her release! I found that it is perfectly ok for me to stop at any point if something is too challenging for me and go into child’s pose. There, face to the mat, curled up like a little child, I can just be. Breathe. No expectations. It feels good to give myself permission to do that.
SYN: What is your favorite spot to practice yoga and why?
Alyssa Lee: I love doing yoga at Edmonds Beach because the sand is very forgiving when I make a crash landing, and you cannot beat the sunsets and the view of the ferries!
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Published on Dec 9, 2015