If you’re like us, you love the idea of meditation, but just can’t sit still long enough to really reap the benefits. Most of us here at CYCLE Kids just can’t sit still. Most of us sit on exercise balls just to incorporate more movement while we are working at our desks! If this sounds like you (or your child), we have some good news. You actually don’t have to sit still in order to meditate.
Sure, there are benefits to sitting still, turning off all distractions, and spending a few moments with your thoughts, but you can actually achieve a lot of the same feelings of calmness, peacefulness, and rejuvenation from simply practicing mindfulness throughout your day, even when riding your bike.
We love the idea of using the bike as a tool to cultivate mindfulness. It’s actually very hard to daydream or get distracted by technology when you’re riding your bike because it utilizes all four limbs and all five of your senses! Hopping on your bike automatically allows you to live in the moment, and be more aware of your surroundings.
Next time you hop on your bike, try this moving meditation to help you cultivate mindfulness, soak up your surroundings, and when you finish your ride, leave you feeling calm and ready to take on whatever life has to throw at you!
Meditation on a Bike
Start by paying attention to your posture. Are you hunched over the handlebars or are you able to lengthen your spine and relax your neck?
Bring your attention to your breath. Are you a new rider? Is your breathing heavy or light? Or do you find yourself holding your breath as you maneuver the bike? Try pacing your breath, inhaling for a count of four, and exhaling for a count of four.
Next, bring your focus towards your legs. Are you coasting? Or are you pedaling consistently? Do your legs feel heavy or light? Notice how your leg movements affect your breath. Can you sync your breathing to your leg movements? Inhale for eight strokes, exhale for eight strokes. Play around with this until you can find a rhythm that feels soothing, and doesn’t add difficulty to your ride.
Once you’ve touched base with your body and your breath, bring your awareness to your surroundings. Where are you? Are you riding on a busy city street, or a calm dirt road? Are you somewhere familiar, or somewhere new? Start using all five senses as you take in your surroundings.
What do you see? Anything new, that you’ve never noticed before? Or do you see something familiar, but perhaps can look at it in a new way?
What do you hear? Are you in the midst of honking cars and noisy trucks? Can you still stay connected to your breath in the midst of the chaos? Or are you somewhere serene, where you can hear the sounds of rustling trees and chirping birds? Try to listen and hear every layer in the sounds around you.
What do you smell? Are the scents pleasant and inviting? Can you identify what you’re smelling? Does the air around you have a specific scent?
What do you feel? Is the air crisp or humid? Do you feel the wind on your skin? Can you feel the sensation of the handlebars in your hands and the pedals beneath your feet?
Take it all in. What feelings come up as you’re riding? Are you nervous? Happy? Free? Can you notice your feelings without judging them?
As you continue to ride, go through this meditation over and over. Check back in with your body and your posture. Check back in with all five senses. Check back in with your feelings.
Remember, the goal of this mindfulness exercise is to keep you in the present moment, and make you more aware of your surroundings and prevent day dreaming, thinking about the past or future, and zoning out. Make sure to stay tuned in so you can stay safe on your bike.
When your ride is over, how do you feel when you get off your bike? Let us know in the comments below!