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Chris Chandler's Soul Journey

After losing his father to cancer, CHRIS CHANDLER watched his world turn upside down. SoulCycle became a sanctuary where he could tap into his emotions with every pedal stroke. Now the LA instructor shares his Soul Journey… 

What first brought you to SoulCycle?
I was actually dragged to SoulCycle by my co-workers at lululemon, trusting the rave reviews about Angela's class and how it was more than just an indoor cycling workout. As many of the riders who've taken my class know, I was quite the SoulCycle skeptic, wondering why anyone would ever pay $30 to sit in a dark room for 45 minutes when I could use that money elsewhere. But anyone who rides with Angela knows that she can turn the most stubborn skeptic into a believer. 

So what was your first ride like?
SoulCycle impacted me right from the start. Backtracking a little bit, I moved back home to Chicago from LA in 2013 to spend time with my mom after my dad died from cancer. My dad was my hero — vulnerable, 100 percent Ron Chandler all day every day, and the type of friend that would never bulls*&^ you. Life without Dad flipped my world upside down, and I knew that I wanted to feel every ounce of my grief. I started counseling and was able to partner alongside my mom as we started this new grief journey together. After eight months at home, my mom and I came to the difficult conclusion that our grief would develop best if I moved back to LA.  

And that's when you first came to SOUL?
Yes, fast forward to my first experience in Angela's class where I was able to move, feel, remember, allow any emotions come my way, all while dancing on a stationary bike. I walked out of the studio, train-wrecked both physically and emotionally. Surprisingly, these were similar sentiments I encountered in my counseling sessions back home. Once I came to this realization, I knew SoulCycle was for me. 

How did you heal after losing your father?
I believe healing is a state of being, not something as a means to an end. I will never "heal" after my father's death; however, I will adjust to this new normal by committing to feeling, sharing my story, and allowing others to feel the same freedom I felt in the SoulCycle room as a rider. As an instructor, it's been incredible to share my story, encourage riders to open up, be vulnerable with themselves, push beyond their perceived limits of feeling and to remember to soak up the joy of every moment — dance, smile, let go of what others may think of you, etc.  

What advice do you have for others coping with loss?
Feel, feel, feel. Find the avenue that allows you to express your emotions and stick with it. For me, counseling gave me to tools to articulate my grief and SoulCycle provided a place for me to put my learnings into action as a rider and an instructor. It is so important to find what works for you to let your feelings free. 

So true.
Our society does not make time for grief, sorrow, and properly working through what is bubbling beneath the surface when s*&^ hits the fan. Fight the urge to say you're okay when you're not. Stuffing our feelings creates a toxic environment in our heart and soul — put in the work to process, feel and be real with yourself. I promise you that the courageous work of feeling everything that comes your way will inspire others to do the same. 

What inspires you?
I wish I could list all the people and simple treasure of life that inspire me. Long story short, what inspires me the most is people living into who they were truly made to be, owning it, and living a life that is focused on loving one another. Plain and simple. 

Catch classes with Chris C. at SoulCycle Pasadena! Question or comments? Email!

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