Day 3: 15 mins of meditation using the Calm app.*
Stop me if you’ve heard these before:
- ‘Follow your breath.’
- ‘Say to yourself “I am breathing in. I am breathing out”.’
- ‘Focus your awareness on your breath.’
- ‘Your breath is your anchor; a safe harbour you can return to during the day.’
Personally, some of these stock meditation phrases drive me crazy. Mostly because they don’t tell me why I should focus on my breath. Truth be told, I had heard exhortations like these maybe a hundred times before something finally clicked. And it wasn’t whilst I was sitting cross-legged on the floor. It was on my bike, listening to Kraftwerk.
I occasionally train at the Lee Valley VeloPark, beside the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome. There’s a one-mile closed road track there, where visitors can pay in and smash out laps. One of the greatest things about a traffic-free environment is that you can stick on some headphones and allow some music to set your tempo.
The exact connections between Kraftwerk and cycling have been explored in great detail elsewhere, so I’ll just say this: the opening minute of ElectroKardiogram is the perfect way to start a bike ride, or even re-start your efforts after a warm-up. A staccato breath-beat shuddering in and out at a perfect metronome. Listen:
This – now this is a breath I can focus on. And I know why: because it tunes out everything else.
So effective have I found this, that sometimes while out on club rides on Sundays, if I find myself struggling to focus (or care) I often summon up the track in my head and mimic the breath-beat from the start of the song. Before I know it, I am focused, increasing pace and suddenly tapping into a new-found reserve of energy.
Give it a spin.
Until next time: OMMMMMM.
* = see previous post for suggestions around meditation apps to get your started.