Some people turn to prayer or yoga to slow down and make sense of their lives. Others meditate on a smart trainer. With a few simple hacks you can bring some mindfulness to your smart trainer regime to give both your mind and your legs a thorough workout.
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN AND YOUR LEGS
French mathematician Pascal once said that all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone. We all know we should be meditating more, but many of us can’t bring ourselves to do it. The idea of sitting alone quietly with our thoughts is a scary prospect for many. From the constant thinking and comparisons to the incessant and repetitive chatter, many of us resort to living in a world of distraction.
For those who can’t find the time or motivation to meditate during the day, then why not combine your smart trainer session with a mindfulness practice?
This simple hack has many benefits. And to make it more effective, with our silent direct-drive trainers you can sit in silence just like Pascal recommended while you turn the pedals and tune in!
MINDFULNESS AMPLIFIES SATISFACTION
A meditative practice doesn’t have to involve sitting on a cushion for 8 hours a day in a cave in Tibet. Any activity that we do mindfully and with intention is a form of meditation, and cycling is no different.
By incorporating mindfulness into our smart trainer regime, the session becomes as much a workout for your mental health as it is for your physical health. In addition to the health benefits, studies show that combining exercise and mindfulness leads to increased levels of satisfaction.
7 WAYS TO BRING MORE MINDFULNESS TO YOUR SMART TRAINER ROUTINE
It’s time to disconnect from the Bluetooth sensors and connect to your deeper self as you enter the world of mind-body alignment. It’s a world where you revel in the burning quads and the deep mindful breathing as you take your mental and physical health to new levels.
1) BRING A FIRM INTENTION TO THE SESSION
Many of us use exercise as a method to escape. While a blowout for an hour on the smart trainer may serve in the short term, the deeper issue is that we still have to deal with the underlying issues at some point.
In the minutes before you start your session, try and tap into what’s going on in your life. What do you need most? Do you need more focus and attention? Perhaps you’re dealing with problematic emotions? Bringing a solid intention to be with your feelings can often be very powerful when coupled with your intention to exercise.
2) UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY
To meditate effectively, you’ll have to forego much of the modern technology that distracts us from ourselves. This means no TV, audiobooks, podcasts, music, smartphones or National Geographic magazines! Try doing this one day a week to begin with.
3) GET INTO THE BODY
Many of us take refuge in our heads, something our culture reinforces in many ways. Effective meditation is all about getting out of one’s head and becoming free from rummaging thoughts.
As you begin your smart trainer session, try bringing your attention to the physical sensations. What parts of your body feel stiff in the beginning? What muscles can you feel being worked? Can you feel the subtle shift in your torso with each pedal stroke? How about the rolling of the ankles at the bottom of the stroke? Simply tune in and notice what you feel.
4) SYNC WITH YOUR BREATH
How you breathe has a profound effect on your nervous system, and traditionally it has always been an important anchor in meditation. To prevent your mind from wandering excessively, try and anchor your attention to it. Try and maintain a steady rhythm that’s synchronized with your pedal stroke. Notice how deeply you breathe. Are you breathing deep into the abdomen, or are you taking quick shallow breaths into the chest? Notice how that changes with intensity. If you notice you’ve become lost in thought, simply return to the breath to reset your attention.
5) EXPERIMENT WITH ANCHORS
Not everyone can anchor their attention successfully to the breath. But luckily when cycling, there are several other options. The pedal stroke can be quite an effective anchor for cyclists. Pick a point in the stroke to anchor your attention to and try to tune in deeply to the rhythm it taps out.
6) REVEL IN THE INTENSITY
Mindfulness is all about acceptance. And what better time to practice this than when you’re 3 minutes into a VO2 max interval on a smart trainer! Cycling is one of the most physically demanding sports there is, and a mindful approach to training at intensity can help you practice acceptance of what is.
If you’ve set the intention to a number of high-intensity intervals, then commit to completing them. Notice any desire from within that wishes you were done or that it was a little easier. Remind yourself just why you’re doing the intervals in the first place and take your focus back to your anchor.
7) BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Be present with your thoughts. Are you comparing yourself to others or to past performances? Are you beating yourself up for the inability to maintain a given power output? Show some gratitude to yourself for having taken the time to look after both your physical and mental wellbeing. Few take the responsibility to do so and the world at large will benefit from your actions!