Exclusive interview with Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, multiple road cycling, cyclo cross and mountain bike world champion, who talks about her sport and yoga
Cannelle: Hello Pauline,
We are very happy to have you by our side and to be able to exchange with you on yoga, a practice that we are passionate about.
You have an impressive track record in road cycling and mountain biking. To get there and progress at this very high level, you must spend a lot of time training, strength training, flexibility, breathing… And on top of all that, you started doing yoga and meditation! So, my first question is, how did you discover these practices and why did you decide to start?
Pauline: Hey Cannelle! So just to bounce back from your presentation, I wasn’t particularly working on breathing or flexibility until then, except maybe stretching. My training consists mainly of specific sessions on the bike, bodywork/muscle building with the TRX and preparatory races.
That said, I come back to your question about the discovery of yoga and meditation. For some time, and especially with the objective of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, I felt the need to find a way to calm down, to be able to ground myself despite the requests and the stakes. A friend practiced and taught yoga and meditation, this was the real starting point. I had already tried two years earlier, without hanging on more than that, like what, it’s important to wait for the right moment.
Cannelle: And how do you find the time? Is there a perfect time for you?
Pauline: I do not impose myself, but I like to do a meditation or gentle yoga session rather in the late afternoon once I have finished my specific workouts on the bike or my core strengthening excerices. Sometimes, I opt for a more athletic practice that will replace my wrapping session and fit into my training by adding notions of balance and imbalance. Or during my days of rest, I take the opportunity to deepen postures, depending on my energy in the moment.
Cannelle: Do you practice regularly? Of course, it must depend on the periods of time…
Pauline: Yes, it depends, but it’s rare for me to spend a week without meditating, working on breathing or postures… even if it’s short or just in my bed before I get up! And sometimes it’s my bike rides that become my meditations.
Cannelle: What is your type of practice?
Pauline: It depends on the moment. As I was saying before, it may be more dynamic or quieter, I am not attached to a specific type of practice. It is according to my need, my energy, my desire… Listening to oneself, therefore 🙂
Cannelle: What does it bring you, or what does it teach you?
Pauline: I feel more relaxed, it calms me down and it also strengthens me from the inside, both on the physical and psychological level, it develops concentration, and also flexibility, sometimes a little rough with all my years of cycling!
Cannelle: Do you find that yoga and meditation influence your professional life and your approach to competitions? What level(s) in particular and what benefit(s) do you get from it?
Pauline: No doubt, yes. Because it allows me to pose in the present, to judge a little less harshly the moments when it does not go exactly as I want, to relativize. I really like that phrase that I heard during a course “everyone does what they can with what they are”, it’s very liberating. Because the rest doesn’t belong to us!
everyone does what they can with what they are
Cannelle: Work, confinement, … we all have good reason to be stressed. But I imagine that for you before and during competitions the stress must reach a whole different level of intensity. Do you use what you practice in yoga or meditation to let go? Are they techniques that work best?
Pauline: Yes and no, because on the starting line, I’m really focused on… the position of my pedal! And once in the race, again, it’s the concentration that comes first, not to escape in anticipation or the “I should have done this or that”. In a sense, this anchoring in the present is also a trait of meditation and yoga.
Cannelle: In terms of professional equipment, your requirement is necessarily total. And for yoga, what do you expect from equipment? Do you use apps? Live classes? Or specific classes?
Pauline: For meditation, I use the Calm app, I find it very easy to access and effective. Often, I practice using videos and private lessons in order to really target things to work or the needs of the moment!
Cannelle: A last question that is a bit selfish. Not long ago, you discovered Kitiwaké. What do you particularly like about the brand/its clothes, and what advice would you give in order for us to progress?
Pauline: Ah then, it goes back a little to my answer to the previous question, I’m a fan of the Imala outfit, because I love the shape of the bra being very feminine and technical at the same time, and the legging hugs the natural curves of the body well, so it’s really comfortable in addition to being very aesthetic! And the colors are both original and tasteful! I also love the Loula sweatshirt, so cozy and Cocoon! It’s hard to give advice to progress, but I would say a slightly higher height for me on the Eka legging.
Cannelle : A very big thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish you serenity for many beautiful successes!