Let’s try something new, shall we?
First, right click on this and open it up in a new tab so it plays while you read. If you’re at home, turn it up too, why don’t you?
It never matters much, what kind of mood I’m in before teaching a group cycling class. Once I plug in my iPod, press play, and crank up the volume as high as I possibly can without feeling like I’m going to blow out the speakers, the endorphins start flowing and I feel like I can conquer the world. Being an instructor also adds a different dimension to class. I won’t lie: there’s a great feeling of power and control that comes over me, especially since I’ve taught for so long now. I no longer have the fear I used to have, of putting on the wireless headset before getting on that bike in front of mostly strangers and leading them through their workout. When I’m up there, I’m large and in charge.
Some days I feel all of that, multiplied by ten. It’s caused by a mysterious and ever-changing combination of things: the people who are there (Go Wednesday!), how I’m feeling both physically and mentally, the music choices I make, the weather, and who knows what else. The perfect storm can be a magical thing.
I recently had one of those A+++ days.
We were peddling along and feeling great already, and then “I’m Your Deejay” (Zenith vs. Avex: Attack Mix) started. You’re listening to it now, by the way. A few people started hootin’ and hollerin’, and Dave started pumping his arms in the air, so I knew it was Go-Time. As I looked out at my class, scanning my eyes across each row of people as I checked their form and made sure they were all “with me”, I gave my cues:
“Keep this movement in the legs and out of your upper body!
Let’s have some nice, even breathing!
Your goal: stick with the beat with medium resistance: Let’s crank it up!”
I adore the driving beat in this song; it’s so motivating to me, and I love to watch my students get pumped over it, too.
So we rode, and as my eyes continued to scan the room, I shouted to people by name and told them that they were doing a great job. I asked, “How’s your neighbor doing?” and got a satisfying “WOOOOOO!” from the whole group. We were all working together, towards a common goal, and that’s an awesome feeling.
I got off my bike and turned the music up just a little bit more (as I often do), testing the integrity of the speakers that don’t belong to me, not once but two times.
It was the perfect ride: driving music, a focused class, an overall feeling of togetherness, and sweat flying everywhere.
And then I saw something unusual.
As I focused for a moment on my own workout, my gaze shifted downward and I noticed a little white feather–one that looked like it came from a pillow–caught in a swirly holding pattern caused by the huge fan that stands three feet to the left of my bike. It was such a quiet sort of visual treat at that moment, the white feather just dancing around and around, hitting the black floor for only a fraction of a moment before the winds of the fan picked it back up and tossed it in the air again. Gliding gracefully in its mini tornado, it was the perfect juxtaposition of, well, everything else that was happening in the room at that moment. It was the only peaceful element in a room full of soul-shaking noise, and even as I continued to lead (and have) a totally kick-butt workout, I felt that peace.
It’s not often that I have any sort of epiphany in class; life lessons don’t show themselves too often in the spin studio. That day though, I got it. When things are crazy in life (as they often are for me), trying to find some element of peace can shed a new light on the chaos.
All you have to do to find it is shift your gaze.
©2010 Suburban Scrawl