I often talk about tracklocross and mindfulness working well together, perhaps because my day job uses cycling and mindfulness as teaching tools to help build communities and teach resilience. I don’t want to use the cliche that riding fixed gear bikes makes you more in tune with your machine, but sometimes if the adage fits, so be it. Being in tune with your bike inspires the idea of being in the moment and perfect harmony between yourself and your bike.
In the moment
What does it mean to be in the moment, and why is it important? I’m happy I’m asking this question; I can now espouse my views to answer it. Being in the moment means being mindfully aware of the thoughts and emotions that you are having right now. It does not matter what these emotions and thoughts are as long as they are current. We do not want to dwell on the past or worry about the future.
Which sounds fantastic, but it can be challenging to get to this place. How many times have you sorted that old argument out in the shower? Do you often worry about work the next day? Thinking like this is only human. Being in the moment will help us quell anxiety and make us happier. Who doesn’t want to be happier? You will still have sad moments, though. Indeed it is almost impossible to be happy all the time.
I’m also not saying we should never think about the past or the present. It is good to remember our past. It is also good to have some form of forward planning. What we need to do is balance it. We need a healthy mix of past, present, and future. All of this sounds contradictory, but when we have a balance, we will have a healthier life, which will help make us happier.
How to balance
We need to remember our past and plan our future; the way to this is in short bursts. Dwelling on these thoughts is something you should avoid. How, though, do I be present in the moment? Breathing. Focusing on your breathing will always bring you into the present moment. It is a great way to ground yourself. Try it now.
See, how did that feel?
As a result, you had no choice but to become aware of your body when you concentrated on your breathing.
Your mind may become flooded with thoughts, which is excellent. A river of emotions and ideas flowing through your mind is the start towards mindfulness. Use these thoughts and feelings to understand what is happening to you and where you are. You don’t need to hold onto them but merely acknowledge them.
Say to yourself,
“I am present and aware of this moment.”
There is no judgement on your thoughts other than acknowledging they exist.
How to use tracklocross to keep you in the moment
Previously, I have written an article with seven tips on making tracklocross more mindful. Give it a read if you want some easy tips on mindfulness.
Now, I want to concentrate on a different idea. I want to look at the concept of meditation while on the bike. Remember, not all meditations need you to sit cross-legged on the floor with your eyes shut.
What we need is a nice uphill climb. A long one, without enough of a gradient to make you suffer. One that you can do at a nice pace, not too fast, which is why I try to avoid the flat as sometimes it is easy to get carried away.
With a moving meditation, we will boost how connected to the world we feel, raise our awareness, and help us to feel calm. Indeed, you may find this meditation easier than a more traditional sitting meditation.
You must keep a slow, steady pace here, so avoid a technical climb. Keep yourself seated. Your upper body is almost stationary. Your legs are doing all the work. Slowly and deliberately. Finally, keep the same pedal stroke all the way up. There is no need to set records.
Observe your pedal stroke. Do not alter or change but concentrate on how your legs feel as they push the bike uphill.
Tune in to what is going on around you. Look at the trees. Are they still, or is the wind rippling through them? Acknowledge all the things that come into your field of vision, do not apply any judgement to them.
Note sounds such as birds singing, the wind, or even people talking in the distance.
How do you feel? This can be the wind on your skin, your muscles working, or how your grips feel against your hands. Again, acknowledge these thoughts and pass no judgement.
The rhythm of your pedal stroke. Come back your deal stroke, how does it feel? Anytime you feel your mind wander, bring yourself back here.
The above idea is not a set of rules to follow. It is a set of guidelines. Therefore, use it as a guide, chop, and change how you use things. The idea is to find a practice that works for you.