6 Tips to Turn Your Bike Ride Into a Mindfulness Exercise
How often do you not think about your to-do list when you are rushing to work? Do you sigh when the traffic light turns red again? Or when you get home and don’t remember anything about your route because you “had to get there first”? It’s time to change!
Mindfulness is the act of consciously paying attention to your current experience and taking an open, non-judgmental view. Mindful cycling introduces you to the many aspects of mountain biking and cycling and teaches you to listen to your body. You will become aware of your position on the bike, your attention while cycling, and the power and energy in your body. Focusing more on the here and now, along with gentle breathing, will help you clear your head and enjoy the moment more.
With these tips, you can master mindful cycling in no time:
1) Make the Most of Your Senses with Mindful Cycling
One of the easiest ways to be present at the moment is to use your senses. Concentrate on the feel of your feet on the pedals, the smell of the outdoors, the sound of cars passing by, the vibrant colors of the trees in bloom. Don’t analyze what you see, hear, smell, or in some cases, taste; just experience it.
2) Setting Intentions
If you want to set an intention before you ride your bike, think about how you want to feel and what you want to focus on. It is important to express this intention in a positive way. So, instead of “I don’t want to think about work while cycling,” think of it as “I want to enjoy everything I encounter along the way”. Other intentions include “I want to listen to my body” and “I want to arrive at my destination relaxed”.
3) Ride Away From Heavy Traffic and Dangerous Areas
While it is vital to ensure your safety while cycling, it is also crucial to make sure that you can practice without being disturbed by the many distractions on the road. The best place for mindful cycling would therefore be in nature.
4) Breathe in and Out Through Your Nose
Do you find that your thoughts go elsewhere instead of just focusing on your ride? Then, without grumbling, shift your attention to your breathing. Inhale and exhale air, and feel your body move smoothly with your breathing. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to breathe in and out through your nose. Breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth helps filter the air and maintain the proper humidity and temperature. The slower and less you breathe in, the more oxygen in your body’s cells, the less lactic acid, and the lower your heart rate. You will also avoid getting too much air and getting tired too quickly.
5) Stop, Get Off, and Look Around
This gives you a sense of accomplishment, especially if you do it after a lot of effort. It gives us room to appreciate what we have done. We are always thinking about what’s next, but we can be in the moment by paying attention in this simple way. While you’re at it, you can take a picture of a view you like. Be grateful for what you have. Taking a photo is a great way to show your appreciation.
6) Make Mindful Cycling a Habit
The more often you practice mindful cycling, the easier it will become, making it a habit. Intend to make your (almost) daily bike ride as mindful as possible. While riding, focus on your breathing and senses and try to find things you’ve never seen before. This is a great practice that will help you enormously!
Have you ever tried mindful cycling? Share your experience with us in the comments below!