The practice of yoga has been a part of my life for five years now.
I wish I had started sooner; then again, I often look around a room, wonder why I’m one of the only men and glad I started at all.
When I first took a yoga class it was travelling in Indonesia. While abroad I felt permitted to try things I might not back home; no one knew who I was, no one knew my “story” or background, and I needed that.
My resistance to yoga at that time wasn’t that I was tight, disconnected from my body and rarely present. It was that who I believed I was, who I believed people believed me to be, was not someone who “did yoga”.
Truth be told, and part of why I share this now, is I sometimes still wrestle with this.
I like going fast! Always have.
I love riding bikes through technical trails and over jump lines.
Floating pillows in the winter down to the lodge for apres.
I like a cold pint at a brewery and banter with the boys.
Prior to stepping into a studio, I didn’t believe you could do “cool mountain-man shit”, and practice yoga.
How could you, they are opposites? Monks don’t ride bikes; heck they don’t even have sex!
I remember in the early days of practicing yoga, I shared with my favourite yoga teacher (who would later hold my teacher training), “I’m afraid Mike, if I practice yoga and meditate, I’ll lose my friends that shred bikes and share pints”.
You might read this and think, “well damn rights you can’t do both”. You might also read this and chuckle at how silly it is. Neither person is right or wrong. I did lose some friends; and in their place, gained new ones with broader perspectives; and I couldn’t be more okay with that.
Bottom line and what I’m here to share with you is you can do both!
You can shred a bike and practice yoga.
You can rip a pillow line and practice meditation.
You can cheer the lads and ladies after an epic day in the alpine, and still wake up early the next day and write about it in your journal.
There is no duality with these practices and passions.
You are not “a yogi” or “a downhill mountain biker”.
Your identity isn’t what you do, or your accomplishments. But I’ll save that for another time.
These are just things you do.
So of course you can do both.
I’m not saying you should practice yoga.
That was simply the practice that spoke to me.
Whatever your flavour of a chill, grounded practice that balances out the fire, the hustle, the “yang”, do it! But it will take courage, discipline, and repetition.
Yoga and meditation didn’t steal me away from fast descents.
I still ride my bike. And shred the hardest I have in 32 years.