I did my first spin class yesterday. Spinning, for those of you who don’t know, is a fitness ploy to drown you in your own sweat while being continually penetrated by a tiny bike seat.
I loved it.
I feel like fitness classes are designed to be embarrassing to everyone besides the instructor and their top two students. Everyone is huffing and grunting—and if you’re not rhythmic? Forget it. This is not a place for you. You are surrounded by mirrors under florescent lights and caught comparing yourself to everyone around you. Or at least this is what I do.
Spinning was different. We spun(?) spinned(?) in a dim room with only one, easy to ignore mirror. Already, two of my problems were solved. A lot personal comparison is removed in spinning because no one but you knows the tension on your bike. You can’t be the “show-off” who always grabs the heavy weights or the “weakling” who can never use them. It’s just you and your bike the way it’s you and your body in yoga. You can be giving it all you’ve got or just be along for the ride and no one will know the difference besides yourself.
Once we got going, the teacher told us to spin with our eyes closed. (Advice I first thought was given to prevent the sting of sweat headed straight towards our eyes.)
It was amazing. The class became yogic. I played with the gunas; feeling swirling and whirling rajastic energy encompass me until tamasic energy started nudging its way into my limbs. The two energies would duel each other until one was victorious, creating another shift in energy. I made mantras with the stamping of my feet on the pedals. “This mo-ment, this mo-ment...” The instructor even said yogic things. “Your mind will stop you before your body is done.” and to “Leave with nothing left”. I say softer versions of these messages in class, but the idea remains the same. “Trust your body to know more than your mind.” “Give everything you have to this posture.”
The deeper I get into yoga, the stickier my relationship gets with gyms. They tend to contrast with the ideals I create my mat. The gym idea is “You’re never perfect. You can always look better, be faster, be stronger, etc.” while in yoga the idea is “You are not defined by your body.” I like a good workout, but to me, fitness is secondary. My body should not be used to motivate me. A workout needs to be fun. It needs to make me learn something. The spinning class resonated with me because the theme wasn’t “Get fit. Swimsuit season is seven months away.” It was “Challenge yourself, be with yourself…oh, and do it on a bike.”
It was just me and my gunas spinning it on every level. Resulting in sattva…and an incredibly bruised ass.