Written by: Paul Stultz, Orange Ride
Four years ago I started practicing yoga with my lifelong cycling friend Mark Watson. He is an Iyenagar yoga instructor and has been practicing yoga and teaching yoga for over thirty years. During our many trips he would awaken early and do yoga before we rode. He thoughtfully asked me to join him but I always elected to stay in my sleeping bag and sleep in for another 15 minutes. When I started taking one of his group classes, he would get us students into precarious and challenging poses. When he sensed frustration he would tell us “it was only yoga” implying the non-permanence of our condition, would tell us to smile in the pose as it relaxes us, and don’t forget to breathe. The same principles apply to cycling. While we are long in our drop position, or climbing a hill, pushing into headwinds, trying to ease saddle and body discomfort, I remind myself it is only biking. Breathe mindfully, smile, and the condition will pass, a calming peace can take over to prepare for the next cycle or help you get through the existing one.
Yoga has made me a better cyclist. As I age it helps with flexibility, breathing, strength, preparation, and recovery. As a sixty-year-old cyclist who has been riding long distance since 1977, yoga helps keep me in the game. Not as fast, but I enjoy the journey and adventure. That’s what it is all about to me: playing with my old and new brothers and sisters.
This ride is particularly meaningful to me because of the service element that the Fuller Center performs, and the holiness with the way the service is performed. In that respect, it is more than only biking.