My yoga practice shows up for me all the time. Sunday, was my first big bike ride, 78 miles with loads of rolling hills through Palos Verdes. Since February my bicycle has been my primary transportation, as I do not have a car. I love getting around on my bike. I have gone on several 30-mile rides, but they are broken up and on flat beach paths. I ride a casual 15 miles along the beach, hang out for a few and then roll back home.
I really had no idea how I was going to fair on Sunday’s big trek, but I had no fear about it. It was going to be what it was going to be and I was going to do how I was going to do. I was not doing anything to make the ride any easier, for myself on the outside, but with my yogic mind and body I was in top shape to kick ass!
This is not the first time that I have just jumped head first into a physical challenge and came out more than okay. Last year, I signed up to do Nashville’s half-marathon the day before it was to take place. I am not a runner, never have been. We had just flown back to the states from Europe on tour and were opening for Dave Matthews the night of the marathon. Jason and Carlos had been training to do this run, and I took them to pick up their numbers and info in the rental vehicle that I had. I joked that maybe I would sign up too and they told me that people do actually walk it. I had made up that in a marathon if you slowed to a walk you got kicked out, I didn't know people walked! Well, why not do it, then? So, I signed up and coerced myself to run as much as possible, even though I am a non-runner. I finished in 2 hours in 59 minutes, not bad for a walker.
I have always wanted to rock climb, but you need a partner to belay you and I knew no one out here that did it. My brother in-law in the mid-west does and I have gone to a rock-climbing gym with him and loved it. A couple of year ago, during an off-tour, homeless break I got hooked up with a house in Palm Springs for a week. So, I thought, why not go to Joshua Tree and go rock-climbing? I hired a guide and went for it. She was very impressed with my balance, agility, and most of all fearlessness. I credited yoga for all of this. She called me a natural.
5 years ago, when the tour I was on ended, I needed a home for a month, so I bought a ticket to Costa Rica and backpacked around. I had always wanted to learn to surf, so found an out of the way little surf school to stay at for a week. My first lesson from my hottie surf teacher happened on the sand. He showed me how to pop up on the board. I got it right away and credited the sun salutations of my yoga practice. He took me out into the water for more lessons and I caught on right away. Not that I was pro by any means, but my instructor did paddle out on his own, as he saw I got it, with my yoga moves and all.
So, on Sunday I climbed on my bike in my unprepared preparedness to ride the 78 miles. Was the ride easy? No. Was the ride hard? No. It was just what I chose to do that day. Today I am going for a bike ride, it just happens to go up big hills and last for eight hours. When I saw a hill coming and started to think, “Oh, shit! Here comes a hill! I don’t like hills!” I noticed this thinking and then switched it to, “I am going to do this! I love hills! Hills love me! I am doing this!” I reminded myself that I was on a casual bike ride that just happened to be 78 miles long. No biggie. When my knees started to hurt, I told my knees that I loved them. I acknowledged them for working so hard. I told them that I was taking care of them and that they were going to have a nice rest later. I used different breathing techniques to cool myself down. I moved through a variation of cat/cow stretches at stoplights to keep my back and shoulder muscles from tightening too much.
I took on a balance of being compassionate and pushing it with my body. I rested when I needed too. I cheered myself on when the hills didn't end. I kept my Joy through it all. Bike gear or no bike gear. Bike training or no bike training. I've got mental and physical yoga training and that keeps me rocking whatever I choose to take on with a big smile on my face!