Tapas ~ Heat, Fire and Hills

The hills might not be as steep as Mt. Rainer...but some days they feel that way.

The hills might not be as steep as Mt. Rainer…but some days they feel that way.

Throughout Spring I have been writing about the Yamas & Niyamas, the guiding principles of yoga and how you can apply them to bike riding. I started in order with Ahimsa and Satya, but inspired by the heat and the hill climbs of this past weekend, Tapas seemed the perfect fit for today. You will be able to find the whole collection of Yamas and Niyamas in the second edition of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe, if you fund the project on Kickstarter.

“It’s about 1% physical and 99% spiritual”
~ Rider of the Fargo Street Hill Climb in LA

Hills. They are a cyclists tapas, or inner fire. I certainly know that the best way to warm up in Winter is find the hilliest route to work and charge up that hill until the warmth spreads to fingers and toes.

We have all faced that one really big hill. The one that scared us. It looked too steep to even exist, let alone ride a bike up it. I faced one of those hills right after getting a cast removed from my right hand. It was a lovely Summer’s day and a group of friends wanted to bike to Discovery Park, a forested park that has lovely beach by the Puget Sound. I was ready to get back into my regular riding routine and let go of my fear of falling again. When we arrived at the park we were at the top of a giant hill and wanted to get down by the water. I felt weak and out of shape, nervous to ride down such a large hill knowing that eventually I will have to bike back up it. But I longed to put my feet in the cold salt water, so I rode down anyway.

The tide was low, revealing a variety of hidden treasures and unique little creatures that live in the shallow tide pools. The sun was shining and I drank in all of the beauty of this wonderful place. After awhile it was time to leave the sand and make our way home. I had to make it. This hill was the process of reclaiming my power and letting go of my fear. I knew if I could make it up this hill I could keep riding.

The hill was relentless. My heart pounded, my legs burned and I wanted to stop. But I kept breathing and pedaling. I felt the heat in body, the sweat dripping down my brow. I was going to make it. I had to keep going, keep pedaling and breathing. I was determined to do it…to make it up and ride the rest of the way home.

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