Fight the Monkey

Our minds are used to jumping around. This is sometimes called our “monkey brain,” the part of our brain that gets bored very quickly. The term comes from Buddhism and means an unsettled or restless state of mind. Bill explains how calming this part of your minds can benefit your performance on and off the bike.

One of the hallmarks of my teaching style is an emphasis on the mind-body connection. Usually we think of this concept in terms of more meditative exercise like yoga or tai chi, but I am convinced that vigorous aerobic exercise can make the same connection between our consciousness and our physical self.

It works both ways. Physical exercise enhances the mind; focused concentration enhances the physical exercise.

That exercise is good for the mind is well known. But it goes beyond the well-known release of endorphins created by physical exertion. I believe that concentration in exercise is good practice for concentration in all parts of life. In other words, exercise teaches us to mentally focus.


  1. Author

    you are so right. Those instructors who never shut up can incite the monkey mind to a much greater level! they are never given the chance to do one thing longer than 30 or 40 seconds. But pure silence without an objective doesn’t work either (for most students who are new to this concept). Our students need guidance on how to focus, on how to stay connected, and on how to shut down the crazy mind and go inward. I am very intrigued with your project, please keep us informed!

  2. Being present…is a tough one for people…but here’s food for thoughts…are we as coaches breeding this monkey mind!!! Our minds are busy with cueing, timing, profiles and flow of the class…are we also projecting that energy onto our class…causing them to have difficulty being present? I am working on a mastery project to help athletes…be mindful, present and focused! I’ll let you know how it all turns out!!

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