Active Meditation:Three Tips for Practicing Mindfulness During Workouts
But if you are in the middle of a workout, seated meditation may not be the best idea. So what can you do? Try active meditation!.
Meditation, once commonly thought of as new-age, has become fairly mainstreamed these days. The science behind it is quite astounding, as new research studies are showing through imaging how meditation can change the brain. If you want an in depth idea on what’s going on when you sit in silence, check out this article at Psychology Today.
Active meditation is just mindfulness while you are being active. Meditating can help focus, reduce stress and allow those who meditation to focus more clearly on the ‘now’ rather than on the ‘potential future’. What meditation makes us do, in basic words, is consider where we are right now. While I would never recommend replacing a seated, silent meditation practice with an active one, I would HIGHLY recommend spending time during your workout being mindful and aware.
How can you do this? Here are three tips:
- Instead of thinking through all of your problems during your morning run, walk, cycle, spend time connecting with the outdoors. As a runner, I know what a great opportunity running gives me to work through my stressors of the day. But this time away from everything is a great opportunity to just be. To look around. Watch nature. See how the trees look in the morning light. This allows us to connect with the world around us and remember we are a part of a whole.
- Listen to your body. If you spend your entire workout thinking about everything you need to solve, you aren’t spending any time considering how your body (and mind) feels during the workout. For instance, that nagging in your calf may turn into knee pain if you overdue it, but if you don’t become aware of it during the workout you won’t know it until you are sidelined for a few days. Take some time during a workout to stop and think about how your body feels. How are you breathing? How are you holding your shoulders? How do the weights feel in your arms? How does the swim stroke feel? Checking in with yourself during a workout will make you more likely to check in with yourself the rest of the day. Plus, it can help you avoid potential injury.
- Get a phrase! During long training runs I use phrases to get me through. It might be “Git ‘er done”, which always makes me laugh; it might be a line from Eminem’s “Til I Collapse”, which often gives me the power to push through. If I feel myself turning to self-doubt (I can’t take another step, what made me think I could do this, I will never get back into that pre-baby bathing suit!) I turn to my phrase. I repeat it until it is all I hear. Eventually, the self-doubt disappears and I hit a better state of mind, which pushes me through until the end (or until I need to repeat that phrase again!).
Do you practice any type of mindfulness during your workouts? If so, what is your technique?
Photo via Flickr/M. Dolly