Who’d a Thunk…?

…that I’d need to bring my drishti to spin class?

Ok, here it is: I suck on the bike. Sure, I know how to ride a bike and all, but the notion of riding for more than 15 minutes or further than a few kilometres causes a big mental wall to go up. I’m not sure why, but if I do attempt a long-ish ride, my mind tells me no. If I’m able to drag myself on to my bike, while I’m riding, my head is telling me how much it hates biking and my legs scream at me to stop. However, there’s another part of me that really loves it. I enjoy being outside, feeling the warmth of the sun shining, the light breeze and riding with G. The physical exertion and having a destination in mind, especially if it’s to Cramptons or to one of our fave breakfast spots, make me revel in the ride. It’s these positive things that make me realize I don’t really hate it. What I want to do is work on the part of me that thinks I hate it, so I can overcome those negative thoughts and enjoy riding my bike a heck of a lot more than I have in the past.

To help bring myself down that path, I’ve challenged myself to start taking spin classes. Sure, I could have just started riding my bike more (duh), but at the gym, I won’t have to contend with hills, traffic, or pressures to keep up if I ride with someone else. I also hope to translate the challenges we face in class in to more strength and ease when I ride outside. Plus it’s led by one of my fave instructors, who makes me feel oh-so-powerful in her boot camp classes. The first time I went, I decided to go easy to avoid killing myself and end up resenting the class (and not want to go back.) The second time I pushed myself, and it ended up being the biggest mental struggle I’ve ever had to face. Even bigger than when I started to run, including the first 5K race I ran 6 years ago with very little training. There were actual tears mixed in with the sweat on my face. Ok, so I tend to be a crybaby, and my eyes leak freely in both happy and sad times, but these were definitely because I found it that difficult. Hoping that was the worst of it, I woke up early again this morning for my third go at it.

It was challenging, and no easier than last week. However, it was my drishti that got me through it with less difficulty (i.e., inner struggles).

Now wtf is drishti? Simply put, it’s the technique of using a specific gazing direction for the eyes to focus attention. In meditation, you gaze with the third eye and look inward. While practicing physical asanas, you use your drishti to find your focus and live in the moment. In balancing poses, you find your drishti to stablize and ground yourself.

In spin class, I used my drishti to focus on each moment, to work through the 30 second sprints and hill climbs, and avoid thinking about recovery (break) time. I used my drishti to calm my (screaming!) mind and cultivate my innner strength. I used my drishti to focus on the part of me that could do it. And I did it! With no tears! (But probably just as much sweat. Yucks.) So yes, I’ll go back. With towel, drishti, and open heart in tow.

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