Yoga on the Mountain Bike Trail

My husband surprised me last month with a new GT Zaskar mountain bike. The bike is way more advanced than I am. Let’s just say it would be a disservice to simply ride it on the local paved bike trail –my comfort zone for riding.

Recently we’ve been hitting Wakefield Park in the Alexandria/Annandale, VA area to force me out on the new bike so it can be used for its true purpose – mountain biking. Wakefield is an extremely popular multi-use park filled with trails for all levels of cyclists. Many of them, though perfect for the new Zaskar, are way too technical for me – I have already had my share of falling ☺.

As a result of these rides I’ve realized that everything I teach as a yoga instructor, I need to personally practice on the bike trail. This is much easier said than done. Here are some of the lessons I’m a pro at on the yoga mat but an amateur at on the bike trail…

1) Don’t think about it; in yoga, take your brain out of it
2) Breathe; invite the body to relax
3) Eyes to the horizon; in yoga, drishti (gaze) is essential to each asana
4) “Feel” the bike do the work; in yoga, feel the breath move you deeper into the pose
5) Find balance – clip out with the left foot (my weak side) just as often as you do with the right (my leading foot)
6) It’s a process
7) It takes a lot of practice
8) It takes a ton of patience with one’s self
9) Learn to let go of the need to control (see #4) and just trust
10) Have more faith than fear – this is my new motto since attending Level II with Baron Baptiste last month

As a yogi these are a natural part of my life on the mat –another comfort zone. As a beginner student in a sport I am intimidated by, the above list contains things I need to learn in a new capacity. The process of breaking out of the comfort zone is scary but can be extremely empowering. So I will continue to chant #10 as I fly down the treacherous hill: Have more faith than fear!

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