Self-care has been trending over the past few years, and for good reason! People are becoming more aware of the importance of self-care because of how much it can positively impact their mental and physical health.
One of the biggest benefits of the online popularity of self-care is that there are TONS of tools and gadgets out there that you can use to help improve your overall wellness in a way that works best for your schedule.
There are two self-care tools specifically that provide amazing results, are free, and, best of all, you can start using today: Practicing mindfulness and adding meditation to your fitness routine!
Are you skeptical that meditation isn't for you?
Do you think that turning your brain off at the gym is really how you get the best workout?
Let's explore the role that mindfulness and meditation can play in helping you reach your fitness goals!
Benefits of Mindfulness & Meditation in Fitness
Mindfulness is a practice that encourages focusing on the present moment and being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment or criticism. Practicing mindfulness during physical activity can help increase your focus and concentration and provide you with deeper insight into how your body responds to different activities or challenges.
It can also help with stress management by giving you a chance to step back from any negative thoughts or emotions you're holding in. These negative thoughts cloud your judgment and affect the important decisions you make. When you purposefully remove yourself from these thoughts, you'll notice your stress levels lower, and you can begin to think clearer, increase your creativity, and feel a deeper sense of relaxation.
Sounds great! So, what's the easiest way to get started?...
Incorporating Mindfulness & Meditation Into Your Routine
You don't need to do a complete lifestyle change to start adding meditation and mindfulness into your daily routine. Below are three easy ways for you to try adding mindfulness and meditation to your next workout:
Focus on your breathing.
This is one of the easiest ways to prep for your workout or next group fitness class. Start by taking a few deep breaths. As you breathe in, focus on the sensation of your breath entering and leaving your body. Notice how these breaths create a slower, steady heart rate. Decide how deeply you should breathe to maintain that comfortable feeling during your workout.
Make a mind-muscle connection.
Practice mindfulness during your workout and keep your mind engaged by creating a mind-muscle connection with each exercise. During each rep, try to stay focused on the movement you're doing instead of letting your mind wander. Focus on what muscles you feel contracting. Use your mind to squeeze your core or stretch deeper into each movement.
This mind-muscle connection will help keep you engaged in the workout while also allowing you to self-reflect.
End with a short meditation session.
Once your workout is complete, take a few extra minutes to stretch and cool down (or at least we hope you are!) After your cool-down or workout session is complete, don't immediately put up that mat.
Find a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes. As you keep your eyes closed, focus on each part of your body and think about how that specific body part feels. Ask yourself if the muscle is tight. Maybe you lifted a heavier weight or did more reps than you have before, and you notice that muscle feels stronger.
This intentional focus is great for helping to relax your body and your mind after a workout, but it also is amazing for building greater body awareness which can help you better plan and execute workouts in the future.
Mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools for exercise or other physical activities. From increasing focus during workouts to aiding with stress management afterward, these practices can enrich our physical health and bring about greater mental clarity and emotional well-being.
So if you’re looking for an easy way to make your workouts more meaningful – why not give mindfulness & meditation a try? Head to our next yoga class (or turn up the heat and try hot yoga at a local hot yoga studio) to get started!