If you've taken class with SCOTT ELIAS, you know it. You know it because about halfway through class you heard a bloodcurdling battlecry from the back of the room. At first it might scare you, but these yells are so full of joy and motivation that the people who ride with Scott have come to delight in them. Love Scott, love the entire Elias clan, love this post!!!
I guess you could say, I was as much a witness to history as I was transformed by it.
As someone north of 50, I have to admit, I’ve never liked exercising. Frankly, I was pretty sure no one did. Exercise was for the vain, the insecure or the bored. Sure I’d been around gyms, pools, courts and all manner of green. They just weren’t for me.
Then my wife of 23 years and a friend from LA, concerned by my post-3 children chunky-ness, suggested I try ‘spin’.
“You know, spinning. Stationary cycling.”
I thought to myself, “Exercise? Been there done that.”
Entering the double glass doors, I wandered the innocuous lobby looking for the front door. Already open, I staggered down a narrow hallway, choked with sweat-logged athletes. Everyone was lithe, nimble and painfully thin. Then, there was me, a non-believer. I worried, would everyone notice I wasn’t fit or ready? Would I be found out?
OMG! “This is it? Spinning? What where they thinking?”
As a kid, I loved my bike. It was my first whiff of independence, mobility and well, maturity. So, I suited up and got help adjusting the bike. I stammered a bit looking for the toe clips. The lights dimmed, then a blistering snap of music followed by the instructor’s sharp whip tongue that shot me through a 45-minute stream of high-octane consciousness.
Wow! I’d never ridden a bike before with my eyes closed. What just happened to me? So that’s Hyperspace. Then I came back to the everyday world-my troubles, my impossible schedule, my kids, my bills, my arguments, aches and limitations.
But heck, that class, that music, that teacher. Hell, that was amazing! But oh my-- that hallway, that rainforest humidity and smell of decomposing who knows what. So that’s how a professional locker room feels, smells and functions.
There were so many reasons to stop. It was too much of a scene. I didn’t know anyone. Nor did I want to go with anyone who knew me, in case I couldn’t make it through. I wasn’t an athlete. I never liked exercise and I wasn’t going to start now.
Despite the pain, I persevered. Through many classes the mind dripping, heart stomping music alternately carried and propelled me, even as the gifted teachers got into my head and unbeknownst to me, went deeper still.
My kids and wife appealed to my vanity with taunts of “You’re looking so fine.”
And so, I kept at it. Time and again, I heard that sweet-scented, heavenly hook, “Change your body. Change your life.” Until it finally threaded it’s way through my dreams and back into day job. I don’t know when or why it happened; but, something definitely happened.
The whole Elias crew! All five of them ride and Maya is an instructor!
Today, I’m a new person. You might even call me, born-again. Much of that youthful fury, fun and daring is back again and so is the roar that in 5th grade earned me the moniker, the Tiger.
Last summer, as we mounted the Acropolis in 105 degree heat, we were sure to give thanks to the heroines and heroes of SoulCycle. In hushed tones, we daily whispered the names of those near goddesses and gods - Laurie, Janet, Stacey, Sue, Claire and now the tradition continues with Roarke, LB, Emily, Jolie, Danny, Melanie, Ayana, Louise and others.
The SoulCycle instructors, their indefatigable energy, their well of wisdom, their sonic wizardry, their challenging yet supportive ways, are where it all began for me. Yet, what kept me coming to life at SoulCycle was lot’s more; the wonderfully generous, helpful, intuitive, smart, multi-talented and ever resilient front desk. I could go on and on about them. They are Santa’s Soulful helpers; the silent heroes, the wondrous spirits who smooth more rough spots than I care to imagine or most might ever notice. Somehow, they manage to deal with us ever-demanding clients with dignity and miracles befitting those recommended for sainthood. How, I love those guys. Then there’s the community of inspired and inspiring fellow spinners, people whose heart is on the bike and who get me to ask the same of myself.
SoulCycle is an empowered and empowering community of communities. As a father of three daughters and husband to one extraordinary woman, I am forever grateful that SoulCycle was birthed and led by two strong, brilliant and remarkably talented women. The impossible feats of these women are legion; yet many of SoulCycle’s accomplishments are fueled by a team of uniquely skilled, impassioned and abundant spirits who daily lend their wisdom to make SoulCycle all that is…our ‘other home’ and our ‘other family’.
Now, my world and that of our family (all five of us spin), is divided into Before and After SoulCycle was born. It’s that simple- b.SC or a.SC.
Today, I’m excited by what lies ahead and sad as I reminisce about the good old days; when I hated, ALL that I now love. Still, I don’t think of 'Spin' as exercise. It’s way better. For the first time in my life, my body, mind and heart are sewn together as one.
History always has its witnesses and its participants, who like all of us, have been forever changed by it. And so, I remain forever thankful for the Cycle of Souls that continue to spin in my life, in my community and in this world.
Many thanks and much love to all of you.