We all want a balanced body. We workout to strengthen our muscles and our heart, and we meditate to be in the present moment to strengthen our connection with our inner self. What if there was a workout designed to train your mind the same way as your body?
When we workout, we want to leave our worries and frustrations behind so we can connect with our body. Meditation is no different. By being present during a high intensity workout whether it be cardio or strength training, you develop a deeper connection with how your body feels. For some, sitting completely still is very challenging so incorporating a type of mindfulness into a workout where you get to sweat while being blissfully lost in the moment is the best of both worlds.
So how do you get more mindful during a high intensity workout? Let’s explore what it can do for you.
Make Your Intentions Clear
Where your energy goes, intention will follow. Getting clear about what you want to accomplish during your workout will not only keep your focused on your goals but also create manifestation.
Before you start your workout, make a plan and decide what you want to work on – whether it’s completing supersets with weights, plyometrics, or running up and down a flight of stairs. Visualize what you want to do by going through every motion and what it will take for your body to complete one set or repitition. Focus on how you will breathe, the speed of each movement, and which muscles are being contracted.
Make Breathing Your Anchor
Regardless of your activity, use the breathe as your anchor to bring you back to the present moment. If you’re running intervals, find a rhythm that will coordinate your inflow and outflow of breathing. Use your breathing as your mantra (a tool used to support meditation) if you find yourself losing your focus or to bring you back to the present moment. Our breathing also serves as bridge between the mind and body. Many people use deep breathing techniques to relax and bring them back to their center.
When your body is being physical exerted, it’s best to find a breathing rhythm that aligns with your movement. If you are performing intervals or high intensity exercise, your breathing rate will change so become aware that your work phase will produce a more intense faster rate of breathing while during your recovery, your breathing rate will slow down.
Feel Your Body
Once you are aware of your surroundings (ie. environment, temperature, other people) you can start to eliminate any distractions and focus on your physical self. Many people just want to get their workout over with and put in their time. However, this disconnection with your body can lead to injuries, setbacks, and other distractions. Feeling each muscle contract comes from the inside, not the other way around. If you are not physically and mentally ready for your workout, this is the time to stop, take inventory, and prepare yourself to begin. Once you quiet the chatter in your head, you can become present and focus on the task at hand.
Be mindful of your posture and ensure that you have the correct posture and alignment throughout your workout. When you keep this in mind, the natural flow of energy will be present throughout the body and your body will function as it should, giving you the strength, stamina, and power you need to perform each exercise.
Last but not least, stay on target as you perform each exercise throughout your workout. It’s natural for your mind to wander and think about life. Even during meditation, your mind will wander and your focus will get pulled away to other thoughts and sensations. Mindfulness is a tool that takes time to master and once you get back at it, you can bring yourself back to your breathing, your workout, and your body.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well