Mindfulness meditation has been a popular practice for years, but it’s only recently that we’ve seen a rise in the number of ways to incorporate this practice into other activities, such as fitness. Mindfulness is all about being present. It’s about being aware of your thoughts and your surroundings, no matter what you’re doing. Practicing mindfulness can have a positive impact on your life, whether you are trying to manage stress or simply have the goal of living in the moment more often. Whether you’re new to meditation or looking for some new techniques, incorporating mindfulness practices into your routine can have great benefits. Check out these seven ways to add mindful meditation into your fitness routine.
Basics of meditation
Meditation is a practice of becoming more mindful and being in the moment. There are different types of meditation based on the person and the goal of the meditation, but the general idea is to quiet your mind and focus on one thing. When you meditate, you are training your brain to be less stressed and more focused. Research has shown that meditation can help reduce anxiety, improve focus and help you sleep better. Meditation can be done at any time and does not require any special equipment.
Morning Mindfulness Ritual
The best time to add a morning mindfulness ritual is on a day when you don’t have anything too physically demanding on your schedule. A great way to get into a mindfulness groove is to start with a 10-minute guided audio meditation while you are in a relaxed position, whether that be lying down or sitting up. You’ll want to make sure you have no distractions during this time, so turn off all electronics and keep your phone out of reach. If you have any thoughts or feelings that come up during your meditation, just observe them and let them pass without getting too caught up in them. When you’re done, make time to journal about your experience, or write down any thoughts or feelings that you had during the meditation. This will help you process your thoughts and feelings and reflect on your meditation.
Strength and Flexibility with Yoga
Yoga has been said to be the “meditation in motion”, as it incorporates a lot of mindful techniques into its practices. Yoga has many benefits in addition to adding meditation to your routine, including improving flexibility and strength, improving stress levels and reducing anxiety. There are many different types of yoga, so find one that fits your schedule and fitness level. If you’re just getting into yoga, try starting with an easier and less-guided style like yoga flow. If you’d like to incorporate a bit more focus into your yoga practice, you can try using a journal to reflect on what you’re trying to achieve in each pose.
If you’re looking to get some cardio and mindfulness in one go, you can try a cardio-based meditation. Try incorporating this into your exercise routine, whether it be running, walking or something like cycling. When you’re doing this type of meditation, you want to focus on being present and observing your thoughts and feelings as they come and go. If you’re walking or running, you can try opening your senses and being present in your surroundings, such as nature or architecture. If you find that your mind starts to wander while you’re doing this type of meditation, don’t worry. This is completely normal and happens to everyone. Just acknowledge what thoughts come up and then let them go, and then return your focus to your breathing and the act of walking or running. You may want to set a timer for this type of meditation, as you don’t want to be too distracted by thoughts of the future or being behind on your to-do list.
Stretching and Breathing Exercise
Another way to incorporate mindfulness into your fitness routine is to do a stretching and breathing exercise. This is a great option if you’re looking for something you can do while you’re on the go. You can do this anywhere — at the park, in your car during a commute or even at your desk if you work in an office. You can also do this in the comfort of your own home while you’re watching TV or while you’re on the phone on hold. You can either do one type of stretching exercise for five minutes or mix it up between different types of stretching, such as a leg stretch, hip stretch and lower back stretch. Then, once you’re done with your stretches, take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, then breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this three times, then try to focus on your surroundings and be present in your surroundings.
While fitness is more about being healthy and having energy, meditation is about being relaxed and finding a sense of balance in your life. If you find that you have trouble managing both, you can try mixing them together and doing them at the same time. You can try this with one of the exercises above, or try setting a timer for 10 minutes and doing both at once. With a bit of creativity and effort, you can easily incorporate mindfulness into your fitness routine and reap all the benefits it has to offer.