On the face of it, cycling and meditation aren’t the kind of activities you’d think could or even should be practised at the same time. Especially if you’re trying to negotiate the gauntlet of London traffic on your daily commute. Here is how you can ride yourself calm with cycling meditation.
It’s true that you do need to keep your wits about you while sharing the road with other users who can sometimes be impatient, inconsiderate, and even downright dangerous – and those are just your fellow cyclists! There’s a time and optimum place for everything so if you do want to get into cycling meditation, it’s advisable to start in a traffic-free zone such as a local park, quiet country road, or designated cycle track. Indoor trainers are also ideal for learning how to spin yourself into a meditative state, plus you get to close your eyes while doing it.
Why even do it?
The health benefits of regular cycling are pretty well established. Basically, cycling helps you feel good, physically and mentally, so what does cycling meditation add to the mix? Unsurprisingly, the benefits are the same as those attributed to the practice of regular meditation such as experiencing a calm inner state, the acceptance of things as they are without questioning, agitating, or seeking answers; meditation is the suspension of all thinking combined with deep, regular breathing.
Go with the flow
Next time you go for a Sunday morning ride, or on your favourite loop, try it. Be more aware of your breathing going in and out and how natural and restful this feels (If you’re new to cycling, or tackling a Category 1 climb at the time, this obviously doesn’t apply, but you get the idea!). Next, be aware of your pedalling and aim for a smooth stroke, shifting into a gear that makes it feel almost effortless. The aim is to become one with your bike so you work together in perfect harmony without the intrusion of thoughts or worries. With practice – and as your fitness and breathing improve – you’ll find you can lapse in and out of a meditative state, while still remaining aware of what’s around you at all times, including other road users.
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