Mindful Mountain Biking

From Jon Kabat-Zinn, we learn that “mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”.

We can apply mindfulness to everything we do in life, should we choose to. 

This understanding of mindfulness has been used in many different ways including stress and anxiety reduction, pain management, processing grief, and more. 

At SimplyMTB, we see the power that mindfulness has in better understanding ourselves, how we move our bodies, and how we find flow on our bikes. We recognize that the way our bodies move is a direct response to our thoughts, and therefore our nervous system. 

Our founder, Jamie Bangerter, discovered that she was able to unlock many doors and develop skills on her bike once she learned what was happening in her body and why. She has developed an approach to mountain biking that centers mindfulness of the body and mindfulness of thought as gateways to finding flow on the trail. 

At SimplyMTB, we begin with understanding why our students have come to us. We aim to learn as much as we can about who our students are, what drives them and what they may be afraid of. This understanding of our students allows us to work with the habitual thought patterns or beliefs that may be causing the body to tense up. 

Surely you’ve heard the saying “how you do one thing is how you do all things…” Through coaching mountain biking, we have seen countless students recognize that their patterns of tensing up on a bike also reveal themselves in other areas of their lives. For example, many of our students have discovered on their bikes that when they are nervous, their vision focuses on their front wheel, rather than down the trail. They then recognize that in life, when they are stressed, they tend to focus on the problem in front of them, rather than the solutions all around them.

Another common example we see with many students is how their shoulders tense and their neck cranes forward when they are scared. Sure enough, our students begin to discover that when they are at work, their body finds the same position; shoulders shrugged and neck craning forward. 

By encouraging our students to pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, our students are able to notice their body in the moment, and then inquire about what their mind is telling them…. Is fear present? Is uncertainty present? We invite our students to notice how fear or uncertainty manifests itself in the physical form of their body. THIS is the gateway to growth. 

At SimplyMTB, our goal is to invite our students to learn how their bodies move, to provide access to proper body positioning, and to walk you through experiences that help you gain trust in your body’s inherent intelligence. Using breath, using proper technique, being inquisitive and simply getting time on the trail will lead to incredibly fun riding experiences. Join us!