On Friday night, I made my way to Soul Cycle Union Square, for only the 3rd time ever, but this time was for the best reason of all…to support the S.E.A.K. Foundation (which stands for “Strive, Embrace, Achieve, Know”), a new initiative founded by Jenny Gaither. Jenny was inspired to try and help others after facing down her own personal insecurities last year. Her goal was to get to the place where she could accept herself fully and workout in just a sports bra in a class. After enlisting the support of others, Jenny realized how much bigger she wanted to take the idea of pushing past your comfort zone and letting go of insecurities. I LOVE the idea behind the foundation that “once you let go of the insecurities that hold you back, both physically and mentally, you can achieve anything.” So there I was on Friday night, with almost 60 other riders and supporters, for the kickoff ride of the upcoming “Sports Bra Challenge” – a huge event that will be held in Union Square on May 17th, with the participants of 2 Soul Cycle classes, involving 100 riders each, and a 150 person yoga class (registration starts on 4/16 if you want to participate).
My very first Soul Cycle class was with Jenny Gather and her joy is infectious. I have been meaning to make it to another one of her classes for ages. This seemed like the perfect time to make that happen, when the price of a class would be going to support such a good cause. When I walked into Soul Cycle and checked in, I was handed a kick-ass Under Armor “SEAK Foundation” tank, a bottle of water and shoes. YAY! Although I am not one to wear the shirt of the thing I am doing, I immediately knew that night would be different. My bike was in the very back row, but I was really grateful for that. I was one of the lone non-Soulers and am always such a hot mess when it comes to their brand of “dancing on the bike”. The other thing about the back row in the Union Square studio is that it is actually raised up, so you can actually SEE the instructor from back there – so I got to watch the whole event unfold in front of me. It was awesome. The joy in that room was seriously magical. Everyone filed in and almost all decked out in their grey tanks, got their bike set up and were just completely open to whatever was about to happen. The two bikes next to me were occupied by Soul Cycle instructors (easy to spot since one of them was Danny). It was fun get to feel their energy as they supported Jenny, whom they obviously love. Instead of the normal single bike on the stage, there were two instructor bikes. The class started off with Jenny and Melanie Griffith. Melanie is one of the 4 instructors who will be teaching at the SBC and she is amazing. Melanie, who has overcome a cancer diagnosis and is beloved by the Soul community (for very good reason… such a kick-ass, in-charge energy on that bike), took the reigns to begin the class. The mood of the class was set – you can overcome anything, with joy, acceptance and love. Every rider in that room roared as she talked and only got louder as the class went on. It was such an outpouring of joyful, love from every single person who believed in the mission of the night, that REALLY anything is possible if you believe in yourself. In the course of an hour, five instructors took the bike… and all where completely in the moment, filled with joy, love and a magical energy. As they would rotate off the bike, they would bound around the room, dancing with the riders and each other. It was amazing. Jenny was on fire but really, it was watching every single person fall in love with the mission of acceptance that was awe inspiring. She started something really special and on Friday, every single person was fully in love with the principle of the night… everyone is special, unique and amazing.
The ultimate magic of that event, though, was that everyone walked out of that room empowered and filled with love – it doesn’t get better than that. We should all hope to let someone feel that….
(Top image detail from the SEAK Foundation Website , center image from SEAK Foundation’s Facebook page, bottom image just a little internet goodness that sums it all up perfectly…)