The Zen of Moto


By Christine Kathryn

Special to Touratech USA from SheADV

There’s no lack of information out there about the benefits of mindfulness and living in the present moment and the practice of yoga and meditation has become one of the more popular ways to approach it. As a certified yoga teacher who took up adventure riding a few years ago, I immediately noticed the similarities between the two. If that doesn’t seem to make sense, let me explain.

For example, riding requires us to drop into our body and away from the “monkey mind” that plagues so many of us. Monkey mind refers to those racing thoughts and constant chatter that fills our heads, which can takecontrol of our days and ultimately affects the health of our bodies. The practice of yoga that I began more than a decade ago afforded me the means to let go of the monkey mind and experience moments of peace, while also providing a space for healing my body from physical and mental stress.



mindful copy


When I step on to my mat, I claim it as “my personal space” where I can drop into my body and out of my mind.

When left to its own devices, my mind seems to take over with all the thoughts. When I say this, I don’t just mean unhealthy thoughts. While thoughts of doom and gloom, loneliness or fear of the unknown take up residence more often than I’d like, my mind is just as busy thinking of new things to try, create and start-up. While these so-called “good thoughts” keep my life full of adventure and joy, I do need some down-time!

Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit. The union of mind, body, man and nature and, ultimately, the union of individual consciousness and universal consciousness. Deep, I know, right? But oh so important to the development of ourselves and our world! Could we be contributing to the evolution of humankind every time we straddle our trusty steeds? Maybe?! What I know for sure is that I have experienced a similar union of mind & body when I hit the forest roads and trails here in the mountains of Colorado. The two are delicately connected as I make my way from pavement to dirt and traverse varied terrain all while taking in beautiful vistas and breathing deeply the fresh air of the great outdoors.




When we ride, there isn’t much room for ruminating thoughts or for staying stuck and spinning on the challenges we’re currently facing or difficult situations we find ourselves in at work or home. No, our minds and bodies are fully engaged in the act of riding. Anyone who rides understands there are a dozen different things we must hold focus on, such as our posture on the bike, our balance on two wheels, the movement of the bike underneath us as we navigate technical terrain, and keeping track of our riding buddy behind us.

All of this focus and awareness of our body, our bike, the people, wildlife and objects around us, as well as our fellow riders, leaves very little space for thinking about anything else. In yoga, I refer to this as dropping into our body and being present with what is. Surely you’ve experienced this yourself. Nothing else exists or matters when you are in the zen of riding your motorcycle.


Inna Yoga


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!