I usually crawl into bed at night thinking there are not enough hours in each day. I have knocked a couple of things off of my to-do list, but never seem to check off everything. Like many of my generation I try to catch up by doing more than one thing at a time. I have taken multi-tasking to a semi-professional level. I can cook, talk on the phone, email, text, and count music while planning my playlist for my next ride. While I can do this (and shamefully sometimes do), it's not me at my best, and it's not a joyful way to conduct life's necessary tasks.
I LOVE indoor cycling because it brings me to that meditative state where sport becomes an exercise in quieting the mind and becoming fully absorbed in the action of the moment. It forces me to disconnect with my 'to-do's' and connect with myself. The door closes, the lights go down, the music rocks, and I forget about everything except being in the moment and giving my full attention and effort to my ride. It recharges and energizes me. I am present. Mindfulness is thrilling!
Exercise is more than perspiration and cardiovascular endurance. And, while most of us sweat profuselfy in an effort to have the opposite of a Buddha belly, Buddha's teachings of mindfulness and living in the present remain valuable to our modern, fast-paced lifestyle on the bike and beyond. Here are some tips from the Buddha that just might enhance your JoyRide as well:
- Feel sensations rather than thinking about them: You will get a lot more out of yourself by staying in the moment and feeling the sensations rather than thinking about them. Challenge yourself to stay with the experience at the level of sensation instead of labeling it (e.g. "pain" or "discomfort" or "is this almost over?"). In the present moment, the "crush of the future is relieved."
- Do the best you can in the moment: Do your personal best in that moment without evaluating or judging. Let's face it, some days we feel better than others. Your 100% is good enough!
- Focus on the now, not the end: Much of the joy of exercise, and life, comes from the quality of attention you bring to it. Mindfulness of your ride in the moment reminds us that it is the journey, and not the destination that is to be relished.
- "Life's a trip. Enjoy the ride!"
So, don't just bring your body to JoyRide, exercise your mind by slowing it down and engaging in the present. Please note (added bonus): Buddha bodies grow slender and fit after a few JoyRide classes.