Life spun me in a sweet direction the beginning of this month, with the opportunity to teach yoga at a women’s downhill mountain bike retreat. Cat-Sass – Ride the Enlightening, hosted by Retallack Lodge, BC Canada. What an amazing experience. The opportunity to take this journey landed in my life completely unexpectedly, but had me instantly stoked, as combining yoga, life coaching, well-being and outdoor adventures is pretty much what I want to do with my life. Cat Sass founder, Galena Pal has spent much of the last 8 years working in Heli and Cat ski industry and noticed a distinct lack of women in the mountain back country. This inspired her to start Cat Sass, which initially began as a women’s Heli ski retreat and has now evolved to downhill mountain biking as well. Cat Sass Retreats aim to encourage, support and inspire women to confidently step into the back country, embracing outdoor pursuits with the skills and passion to perform beautifully, “ride like a girl” and get stoked along the way.
With much gratitude, I embraced the opportunity to teach yoga at this retreat as an amazing gift. A journey of five days of opening, unfolding, learning, embracing fear, while creating connection, presence, trust and humour. Truly a joy to work with the same bodies and souls throughout the retreat, to notice growth and allow the sessions to evolve into what was really needed in that moment. As it turned out, the very things I was teaching and inspiring on the mat was the same things our coaches were teaching and inspiring on the bikes.
The bike coaching skill set included correct body positioning, weight distribution, hinging, dristi (point of focus or vision), the nuts of bolts of what needs to happen and how your body works to make that happen, that so often get left out when learning a new skill as an adult.
“Just send it, she’ll be right” isn’t the safest strategy when learning to down hill mountain bike once you are out of the teenage bendy bone phase of life. Instead, we learned to be strong, yet soft, flexible, yet stable, to allow the bike to effortlessly flow beneath us and that riding like a girl is rad!
Each day our skills increased as did our confidence in ourselves and each other, which was a good thing, as the terrain was anything but mellow. It didn’t take too long to realise that most of the group had come from a place of chasing boys around, trying to keep up. So this was new, to slow down, really explore and discover how are bodies work and how we need to drive them to allow us to descend a mountain with finesse, grace, fluidity and sass! And once we did slow it down, solidify the skills, activate the core, the rate and level of progression was astounding. The thought, “oh….if she can do it, maybe i can do it”, raced through minds many times, and when that thought was met with the support of “yeah, you can do it, you’ve got the skills, I believe in you”, amazing things happened.
The value of belief in one’s self is highly underrated in this world. One of life’s greatest challenges (and gifts) might be to truly believe in yourself, in every regard, every aspect of your life. This is ultimate trust. Somehow, learning this belief in one realm of your life can help to learn it in other realms. Believing that you can clear a three foot gap jump on your bike, even if it takes a couple of hits to nail it right, might just teach you to believe in yourself in other challenging situations – wanting to speak your truth, make a business decision, declare your love to someone, walk away from an unhealthy relationship or embark on a new journey. The first emotion is often fear, yet if you are able to embrace that fear and mould it into excitement, then evolve and flow into confident action from a place of believing in yourself, anything is possible. The best part of believing in yourself, apart from the wonderful joy, contentment, excitement, and peace it brings to you, is that it inspires, allows and motivates those around you to believe in themselves as well. Back and forth it bounces, around the world, people inspiring each other to believe in themselves, step up to their own true greatness, and be everything they can be. What a beautiful existence we have the power to create.
My favourite things about the Cat-Sass Ride the Enlightening Mountain Bike Retreat: the awesome bike coaching (thanks Lorraine Blancher from Revelstoke and Linsey Voreis from the AllRide Tour), the inspiring and educational nutrition lessons (thanks Holistic Nutritionist Alexandra Goodman), so much delicious food (thanks Eve), the awesome lodge accommodation (thanks Retallack), the challenging bike trails (thanks Riley), our supportive and very tolerant tail guide Johnny Smoke, being given a 2012 Devinci Downhill bike to ride (thanks Simon), my first facial (thanks Eminence), nutritious morning green smoothies (thanks Vega), the inspiring new connections I created with some many fun, adventurous girls, the many full belly laughs, the round of dicktini’s, the helicopter ride to the top for day two’s riding, being inspired to ride like a girl, be strong yet soft, seek fluidity and grace in all we do, and most of all, learning to inspire, support and motivate everyone around to believe in themselves, step up to their full potential, true greatness, and manifest the life of their dreams.