5 Life Lessons I Learned at SoulCycle #31writenow #nablopomo

by P. Braithwaite

SoulCycle is an allegory for life.

I’m serious.
It is.

Everything you need to survive in the world can be learned in your 45 minute luxury spin class. For those who don’t know, SoulCycle is an overpriced stationary biking class that combines a club-like atmosphere with cult-like activities. There is loud music, a dimly lit room, positive affirmations… and candles.

I ❤ candles.

The instructor, usually a muscular and slightly aggressive lass, assaults you with positivity: “Commit to your journey, SoulCycle!! Who do you want to be in this moment!??!?! WHO DOES YOUR SOUL WANT TO BE???”

If you know me in real life, you’d think this is right up my alley. You’d be very very very very wrong…

From the moment you click your feet into your yellow stationary bike, you are willingly engaging in a spiritual experience. No, I’m serious. It’s shamanic. You’re lifting off the bike, you are chanting with your instructor, you’re trying to figure out why you’d willingly engage in such a process. It’s all very deep and profound…

…Or you’re paying 35 dollars to peddle while going nowhere. It’s really a matter of perspective.

About five minutes in I stopped increasing the resistance. Around 20 minutes in, I refused to do the ridiculous bike-dance moves. Minute 23 found me analyzing the paradox b/w positive affirmations and the vulgar A$AP ROCKY lyrics assaulting my ears (the overuse of the word n*gga in a room full of sweaty white women just made me uncomfortable). At 25 minutes, with sweat pouring down my face, I started laughing and contemplating my existence. I even shed a soul tear or two.

So here are life skills you exercise at SoulCycle:

1. A sense of humor:
It would seem that in ordered to succeed at life, one must be willing to laugh at one’s self. I came to this conclusion as the instructor yelled (over the A$AP Rocky lyrics) that we should do a complicated move where our asses must hit all four corners of the bike seat to the rhythm of the music (while peddling). To that I said: HA!

Sometimes a good “ha” is all you need.

2. An understanding of transience:
I don’t like spin classes. I’ve known this about myself for years; however, I took the class anyway. The candles and branding made me think it wasn’t a spin class. I assure you, SoulCycle is 100% spin. Sometimes, when we accidentally do things we hate, we can take comfort from knowledge that nothing lasts forever. Getting through SoulCycle was a reminder for me that we can tolerate anything as long as we keep breathing and realize that it will eventually pass.

3. A willingness to struggle:
I’m not really into struggling. I don’t really love discomfort, but to truly transform one must be willing to be uncomfortable. The question is: are you willing to pay 32 bucks a class to do it? Every struggle has a cost…and a pay off.

Keep on peddling…

4. A willingness of appear foolish:
One of my greatest strengths is my willingness to appear foolish. Sometimes that translates to making an unpopular choice. For instance, when I stopped doing the bike-dance moves, the girl next to me shot me a dirty look. Yes, I understand that I was bringing her energy down, but sometimes you’ve got to do your own thing. The less afraid you are of appearing foolish, the more likely you are to try new things…or stop doing things that might aggravate your knee injury!

5. Commitment to the process:
I’m not gonna lie…my biggest mistake was underestimating the intensity of SoulCycle. I went in, on the first day of my period, tired and expecting a zen spin class. The thing is, there is nothing Zen about spin class. There’s nothing Zen about transformation in general. Shit, Shozan Jack Haubner tells us (in his UH-MAAAZING memoir) that there’s nothing inherently Zen about Zen. The key, is to commit fully to whatever it is your doing. Whether spinning or running or struggling though life, commit and surrender to what comes up. Because for better or worse, nothing lasts forever and when you commit, you are more open to transformation.

What I’m learning more and more is that LIFE is an allegory for life. Every.single.sweaty.moment can open you up, force you awake and bring you straight into the awareness of God. Hats off to the folks who get their soul fix from spinning…I don’t know how they do it.

If you’re curious and wanna SoulCycle it up, check out the site here.

What random activity teaches you life lessons? Let me know so I can embarrass myself while trying it out.