The focused thought needed for riding on the trail isn’t conducive to pondering the amount of stress you were facing at work yesterday nor will it leave space for worrying about how you’ll pay your bills on Monday. Your mind is singularly focused on the road ahead of you, the bike underneath you, and the glorious landscapes all around you.
The enjoyment we experience tackling a tough terrain or pushing our edge ever so slightly to make it up a hill or through a water crossing edges out the space in our mind that was previously occupied by worry, sadness, grief or anxiety. As yoga teachers, we often guide students to “find your edge” in a pose. Finding, or exploring, your edge involves understanding the balance between challenge and ease. I encounter this principle every time I ride. I consciously take on a challenge that I haven’t faced before and live the mantra “Better every ride” whether it’s taking on a new terrain or adding to my endurance with a longer ride in miles or hours, at the end of the ride, I take stock in knowing I’ve challenged myself, accomplished something new, lived my mantra “better every ride” and pushed myself to an edge where comfort and courage intersect. This is where growth happens in a yoga practice and I have found the same in my moto journey.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved through focusing our awareness on the present moment. One could say that we can ride mindlessly, however, I would argue that is when errors happen and accidents occur. I choose to ride mindfully. How does riding stack up to meditation you ask? Meditation is actually a generic term that encompasses various forms of attention practices including moving meditation which is how I would describe what I experience when riding. Riding a dual sport or adventure bike requires a focus of attention and connection between the mind and body I don’t experience driving my truck or hiking on the trails.
Years ago I found peace and solace, challenge and growth, health and healing through yoga. Today I am finding the same through riding and motorcycle adventures – what a grand surprise!
Christine Kathryn is a rider, yoga teacher and part of the SheADV leadership team. Find out more about SheADV Here!