By Michelle Colvin, International Spinning® Master Instructor, UK
How we choose to respond to the events in our lives influences what we experience, impacts our health and has everything to do with our well-being. Let’s face it, letting go can be hard to do. We try to hold onto people or things to feel important, to be loved, to ease our fears or to hold tight to the illusion of being in control. Are you having difficulty letting go of something, emotionally or otherwise? Are your possessions holding your happiness hostage? Are you trying to move past a hurtful relationship or situation? Perhaps you realize that hoarding things is no longer making you feel happy yet you cannot quite get out of the habit of collecting more and more things.
“Letting go” affirmations will help shift your vision and set you onto a path toward a happier life and personal empowerment:
- I am worry free.
- I release all fears of not being perfect. I am good enough. I am perfect in my own way.
- I let go of all expectations. I am free to live the life I’ve dreamed.
- I let go of the need to control others. I allow others to make their own way.
- Possessions do not feed my spirit. I am liberated from the desire to hoard things.
- I let go of past relationships and clear my spirit of chains to the past to make way for new relationships to enter my life.
- I hold onto the positive memories from past relationships and let go of the dark memories.
- I breathe freely without constraints.
- The past is gone, the future uncertain. Today is now and I face it head on.
- I let go of my regrets. I am grateful for lessons that my past missteps have taught me.
- I release my chaotic monkey mind. My mind is clear of distractions. I am focused.
- I release! I let go!
The sword without a warrior is nothing; the bicycle without a cyclist is nothing. Put them together however and you create something very powerful; a partnership, a relationship. Like the warrior, the cyclist must be trained, disciplined, patient and willing to learn and make changes. The sword is a weapon, but to use the bike as a weapon with which we continually use to beat ourselves with will ultimately lead to self-destruction, mental and physical breakdown. Remember that the majority of the people who attend our Spinning® Classes are often trying to escape from their issues. By realizing your own issues and dealing with them in a positive way, you will have the experience to help them.
There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them. Above all, challenge yourself, you may well surprise yourself at what strengths you have and what you can accomplish by removing unwanted behaviors so we can achieve positive outcomes.
The mental component of Spinning® is to tune into feelings and emotions and focus internally. As we practice controlling our heart rate, we begin to develop mind/body awareness. The breath is the bridge between the mind and body. The part of our brain that controls our breathing also controls muscle tone, heart, blood circulation and concentration. Our breath gives us continual, valuable feedback about our physical and mental states. It makes us more aware of changes and how they translate into the body. On the bike it is the coordination of the breath to our movement that influences the fluidity and gracefulness of our movements.
The road to self-acceptance runs parallel with the road to self-discovery. As we journey into ourselves, we discover our strengths and limiters, our likes and dislikes. We become more tolerant and less critical of ourselves; we learn to recognize that what we are capable of achieving right now does not define what we will be capable of in the future. In short, we learn to believe in ourselves and when we do, we simply embrace our flaws and limitations as the natural and acceptable counterparts of our virtues and abilities.
In order to gain awareness and allow the mental training to be fulfilled, you must understand and accept the rhythms of life. If we accept where we are and who we are, there should be no question about where we are going. As Bruce Lee said,, “In order to control myself, I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.” (The Warrior Within, 1996).The question is not can I, but how can I? The mind-body equation has a simple controllable variable: think it, you may do it. Practice positive.
Focusing on the present moment is the only controllable variable. Whatever happened yesterday has happened, can’t change it. Whatever will happen in the next second, the next minute, the next hour, the next day will happen, you can’t change it. The decision or action you take right now is considered the truth.
Can you walk the talk without fear? Do you practice what you teach? We must accept fear for what it is: the unknown. As soon as fear is realized, it becomes a known quantity and immediately becomes less stressful.
Natural Law: the ebb and flow of life. For every up cycle, there will be a down cycle; for every pleasure, there will be pain.
Proper training will level out and balance your strengths and limiters. Thinking and doing are two distinct actions. Realizing you have a weakness is the first step in solving it and therefore in growing. If you plan your training you will achieve a state of mental preparation and become more effective overall. Set your students up for success by planning/periodizing their training sessions. If they know where they are headed they can mentally prepare for the ride in advance.
1. You must accept the Natural Law of life. You must accept that there will be obstacles, frustrations and barriers when getting to where you want to go.
2. When you know fear, anxiety and unstable emotions, know it is a temporary state of mind, not necessarily a condition. How you deal with them and the direction that you take is up to you.
3. Continue to grow. Use the key qualities of masters: simplicity, sensitivity, flexibility, independence, focus, cultivation, discipline and joy.
4. Create awareness in all moments; awareness of energy, nature, your ability, your thoughts, experiences, your life path and those around you.
5. Be like water. Know when to go through an object, know when to go around and allow the natural current to go through or around you.
6. The more calm and relaxed you are, the stronger you become.
7. Acknowledge the wins and losses, and then move on.
8. Know that every action begins with a thought. Train yourself to act with continuity, flow and harmony, the action will be more efficient.
9. To be in balance, you must first know what it feels like to be out of balance.
10. Gain experience through seeing, touching, searching, challenging, hurting, reflecting, gaining, losing, learning, teaching and by doing nothing.
Keep life simple, conserve energy and be content with what you have.
• We have four hand positions, five core movements and don’t forget about recovery and endurance. Feel good about just riding.
Be observant of others, avoid aggression and appreciate nature.
• Be aware of your riders, be calm when coaching and be understanding of their points of view.
Be willing; no preconceived notions.
• Listen to what you see and be willing to adapt.
Act on your spirit; affirm wisdom and experience.
• Being confident with your abilities in Spinning® and you will be well trained.
Accept yourself, accept your life; work with your life, not against it.
• Coach and be yourself using your own experiences.
Refine yourself in order to follow your path more perfectly.
• Continue to learn and experience; take time to reflect and look ahead and you will gain perspective.
Take actions toward specific goals, aspire to a higher degree of concentration.
• Be dedicated to your students’ well-being; plan your work, work your plan!
Once your path is attained, you live in the enlightened flow; no fear, just acceptance.
• Every ride is fulfilling and you serve your students; appreciate their effort.
Being calm, much like self-hypnosis, can be practiced in several key ways: through breath, movement each day, meditation and imagery/visioning.
Spinning® Application: Calm your students at the start of every ride so they can discard the residue from their workday and fully embrace their training. Relaxation helps with developing faith because it allows us time to be aware of ourselves and allows us to discover how ambient energy such as noise and environment affect our being. Faith in this context is not religious faith or belief in a divine power. Faith in the mental training context is connected to fulfilling your potential, because developing faith gives you the power to be successful at things that may ordinarily bring forth self-doubt. Faith is developed and learned. You have faith in Spinning®; you believe in its philosophy, its plan and its structures. How much faith you have in the totality of Spinning® is usually reflective of how effective you are in teaching.
Focusing on mental skills is a chance for us to completely focus on the skills of mental training; little is required of our physical selves. Relaxation is focused practice without the physical component.By listening to our emotions we learn how to react to ambient energy, thoughts, conflict or attempts at peace of mind.
Spinning® Application: As your students engage in a challenging component of a ride, provide them with the space to listen, feel and connect with their emotions.
Note: “Challenging” does not necessarily mean strenuous. Engaging in a recovery ride could be challenging for some individuals as they battle boredom, impatience or an unfocused mind.
There needs to be a balance between challenges faced and skills available. Your perception of the situation is critical to experiencing harmony. A loss of self-consciousness and an increase of self-awareness, combined with intrinsic motivation, will contribute to success in finding flow. Flow is much more than winning or success; it’s about total immersion in an activity for the pure enjoyment of it. Enjoy every ride as if it were your last!