“Mindful” exercise, walks or workouts are flow activities. They create a shift in consciousness through physical activity. Think of physical activity not just as a way to stay fit or look better, but as a sacred time for you to devote away from the pressures of everyday life. Your body needs to be exercised and your mind and spirit need to be rejuvenated – all of which can be accomplished in taking a mindful walk, yoga or Pilates class, a bike ride, swim, dance class or a multitude of other forms of exercise.
Getting yourself set to be fully present in your work out brings added value to the experience. Perhaps a moment or two of abdominal breathing first can help you to change gears and become more aligned with the physical activity you are about to undertake. For example watching the rise and fall of the breath for a couple of minutes before exercise gets you more in the mood and probably allows for a more efficient and fulfilling workout.
Even a brief meditation (2-3-minutes) can have a significant impact on moving you away from the stress of everyday life and more into the zone of getting an optimal workout.
Similarly saying an affirmation before working out can also foster a shift in perspective and allows for an experience that is more deeply engaging. Saying a positive self-statement helps align the mind, body and spirit in the exercise. An example of an affirmation about yourself and what is to come might be, “I feel fully in my body and am going to have a great workout.” Then visualize yourself in that way for a moment before engaging in your workout. Notice the results.
In other posts I have discussed the positive benefits of meditation and abdominal breathing and affirmations in the psychological, physical and spiritual domains. When you bring these mindfulness tools and combine them with exercise the effects can be multiplicative.
How might you enhance the effects of your next workout?