We’ve been thinking a lot about mindfulness and movement lately.
Jon Kabat Zinn is the famous founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, a program that has been incorporated into the care at several hospitals across the country. He defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally.”
We pay attention to things and feelings all the time , but it’s usually very casually and while also thinking about a million other things. And most of the time it’s judgemental- that truck is too loud, my hair is ugly, this pledge drive on public radio annoys me, and on and on.
I like the way Buddhism teaches paying attention without judgement, purposefully noticing how we feel. In doing that, we absolutely bring ourselves into the present moment, simply observing our thoughts and feelings. Zinn and many others have shown that this is actually good for us by reducing our stress levels and calming our minds, both of which have enormous health benefits.
Yoga harnesses this mindfulness and couples it with movement. In yoga, we need to pay attention to our bodies in a purposeful way- our breathing, our poses, our muscles shaking. And if we can’t do the pose, we never say yoga is worthless or I can’t do it- we simply modify the pose and set ourselves on the path to growth and improvement.
At Revocycle we take a similar approach to movement and mindfulness. We pay particular attention to the pedal stroke, and good body position on the cycle, and heart rate and breathing…on purpose, nonjudgementally. We think about being smooth and supple in our pedaling style- we talk about the muscles and movements in order to tune our strokes, all because we are on the path to growth and improvement. It’s a wonderful thing to be smooth, efficient and supple on the indoor cycle, and as we concentrate on that we become so in the moment that the regrets about the past and fears of the future melt away.
Our approach to indoor cycling is a wonderful complement to the mindfulness of a yoga practice. Aerobic exercise has its own unique physical and emotional health benefits, and we encourage those with a strong yoga practice to begin an aerobic movement program, and of course our Revocyclers would do well to consider the benefits of yoga.