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Inside Nicholas's SOUL Journey

YC instructor NICHOLAS WAGNER opens up about his first ride, what inspired him to lead the pack, where he finds inspiration and more…

What first brought you to SOUL?
A couple different influential women in my life led me to SOUL. First, two of my managers at lululemon brought me to my first class down in TriBeCa when it first opened. Then Jenny Gaither and Lauren Bruker are the other influential women who brought me to SOUL. We all went to school together and moved here together. LB started behind the desk, then helped get Jenny in the door, and then it was my turn.

Describe your first class and how you felt.
My first class was a rooster in TriBeCa. It was way too early, it was ridiculously hard, I thought I was going to vomit, but I couldn't clip out, stuck between my two bosses ,who were showing me up so badly, I was a hot mess and totally not into it.

What kept you coming back?
Jenny and LB got me to come back for my second class. It was around two to three months after my first and was an evening class in the original 72nd Street studio with Clare. Now this class blew my mind. I don't even know how to describe what she did that hooked me. Her energy was contagious, her body was amazing, music was everything I needed, I most definitely had that thought, "This could completely change my life, I could get into this!"

What inspired you to become an instructor?
Part of what inspired me to become an instructor were the original teachers I got to take: Clare, Janet, Sue, Laurie, Daniel. When Jenny taught her first Community Ride and Janet was riding next to me, at a certain point she looked over at me and told me that I had no excuse to not be on the beat. She was right. The other part that inspired me to become an instructor was the idea that it was possible to have a job that combined my own music, a killer workout, and help people realize that they can create whatever possibility of change in this world with their minds, bodies and souls.

How is it different from being a rider?
I still get to ride to great tunes, I still get my ass kicked, I still get inspired by the people around me but as the instructor I am able to connect with (hopefully) everyone in the room and I am able to choose the journey we go on.

What is your biggest motivation or inspiration?
My biggest motivation is life. The life around us, the life in us, the life I am able to experience in this crazy world. My fiancé Eric, my dog Artemis, my family, my roommates, my co-workers, dance, music, art, nature, and of course my riders.

Any mantra that inspires you?
Every day I am grateful that I woke up, my body works, my mind works, my voice works and they all magically work together. Don't waste them.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me. I just have to look up. Literally. Right now it's my fiancé Eric, tomorrow it will be my survivors at 54th Street. Next week my dog, the park, flowers, etc. I also get a lot of inspiration from space. Every morning that I teach at 7:00 AM, I leave my apartment around 5:30 AM and get to walk through Fort Greene park on my way to the train. The sun has not come up yet, the stars are out and I am all alone. It is so peaceful and I legit get out my Sky Guide app and find out what stars I can see. It’s brilliant and beautiful and insane that we can just look up and see Jupiter or Mars or Venus, OR ALL 3 just shining away. I highly recommend the NASA app as well, seeing the earth from the ISS in a live stream is a really great reminder of how lucky we are. Everything out there in space is out is kind of intimidating, I know, but reminding myself of this planet size helps to ground me. With all that I remember we are all sitting on a rock flying millions of miles through space and we got to wake up today. Just to be alive. Everything else is a bonus.

Catch classes with NICHOLAS at East 54th Street and West 77th Street! Want to ride? Grab a series HERE and book a bike!

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