EPISODE 30 – MINDFULNESS PRACTICES WHILST EXERCISING
Following the previous blog and podcast ALL about exercise, I wanted to focus this week on MINDFULNESS practices to practice or utilise when exercising.
I believe there is a mind, body and spirit triad that exists so utilising mindfulness whilst exercising, can unveil a lot, as well as be an excellent strategy to bring them all into alignment.
Why is this good?
- Opportunity to feel into where you are carrying tension; your shoulders, joints, jaw…and this presents an opportunity to reflect further into the WHY (My favourite word!)
- Opportunity to focus on our breath; observe if it is shallow and laboured, or is it diaphragmatic and free flowing
- Opportunity to focus the mind on specific focus areas vs allowing it to go off on a tangent of intrusive thoughts. By staying focussed in mindfulness whilst exercising, we can be practicing ‘meditation’ and helping to steer our thoughts towards perpetually higher vibration thoughts
- Can improve focus
- Can improve being ‘present’ right here in the now, which for me, is always the purpose of mindfulness. Forgetting about our future ‘to-do’ lists and what we ‘should or could’ have done; but truly immersing in the beauty that IS the RIGHT now…and the only actual reality of time (the past and future do not exist)
- Exercise becomes a sacred time, where we are looking after our mind and body aspects and that time becomes a true investment in your wellness and vitality.
So, what are some ways we can practice MINDFULNESS whilst exercising?
- Walking whilst taking in all the 5 senses (feel, touch, smell, taste and sight), becomes a ‘Walking Meditation’;
-5 things you can touch/feel
-5 things you can smell
-5 things you can taste
-5 things you can see
-5 things you can hear
- Repeating a Mantra whilst your walking, and bringing your focus back to the mantra when you observe your thoughts drift away. Mantra’s such as ‘AUM’ or ‘HRIM’ or ‘RAM’, the vibration when said aloud, which is also a beautiful thing to do if able, are very VATA dosha The act of repetition and coming back to it, is not allowing our ‘monkey mind’ to digress onto all of our thoughts; single pointed focus to the mantra.
- Listening to music and really immersing yourself into it is practicing mindfulness. Observe yourself drifting away from focus or attention, and bring yourself back to the music without judgement.
- Practices like yoga, Pilates, weights and resistance training are excellent opportunities to tune into where you may be carrying any tension or weakness. Breathing into that and feeling into the WHY is something so powerful. Doing a BODY SCAN meditation whilst working out, can give you a picture of what is happening within your body and doing it whilst moving our vessel can show us more than what sitting at a desk or behind the wheel can reveal.
- Stretching before and after exercise is important to minimise and prevent injury, but also a connection time to FEEL your body and do a body scan meditation. I am a firm believer of energetics and I believe our body never lies! I love the work of Louise Hay and have read her books since I was a small child…
Leaning and listening to our body’s whispers or loud roars, is such an important aspect of wellness to me. I always look into the physiology of what’s happening yes, but I always delve deeper into WHAT exactly is the wisdom within my vessel sharing…and I take heed.
- Bracing our core, not ‘sucking our tummy in’ but stabilising our core, together with deep diaphragmatic breathing in itself feels like pranayama; breath work. We are taking considered and deliberate DEEP breaths in from our core, and breathing out deeply. This increases PRANA- the life force energy, and brings focus to our breath and diaphragm only; very much a mindfulness practice.
- As you’re walking to feel your feet touching the ground with each step is very mindful. Feeling it within your shoe, the arch, the sole and toes; how does it feel with each step. Walking barefoot within nature is so deeply connective to the EARTH element which is nourishing our VATA
- Switching notifications off if you’re listening to a podcast or music on your device is important! You don’t want unnecessary distractions whilst you are exercising; from a safety and mindfulness perspective. Dedicate the time and space that you deserve to partake in a mindful exercise practice. The world can wait…and I do encourage you to put the phone away, not to check messages or emails…they can all wait (unless it’s children care related, then put the ring tone on but all other notifications off)
- Journal any intuitive messages that come up whilst you have been exercising; having a deep connection to your body, things pop up and journal anything relevant that comes up.
- Stay hydrated; the best way to drink water from an Ayurvedic perspective is warm water (not icy or cold water) and whilst sitting down vs standing. If you take a seat or squat each time you drink water, then this is considered the best way for it to assimilate within our body. We also don’t encourage drinking large volumes of water within 30 minutes of eating, as it can dampen the AGNI, the digestive fire and reduce digestion.
- Another strategy is to simply focus on your breath coming in and out of your nostril as you exercise. Literally the ‘INHALATION’ and ‘EXHALATION’ and nothing else.
- Focus on a particular object within the room and take in all aspects of it; blocking out anything else you can see and thoughts that pop up.
- Focus on finding a particular colour if you are walking; and just keep focussed on that single task…or a particular car model, or plant…whatever picks your fancy!
- Count how many different bird types you see along your way
- Count how many times someone you see looks at their phone!
- If carrying a baby in a Baby Bjorn or carrier, focussing on the feeling of their breath on your chest, or their skin on your skin and focusing on that. This is not only deeply connective, but also practicing mindfulness.
- I like weights where you follow a set routine as it gives me structure and I know exactly what I need to do, how many and for how long. This enables my mind to focus on the task at hand vs hap hazardly jumping from one exercise to the next.
The mindful moment or the pearl to practice this week, is to practice one of these that you resonate with…and see how your practice of exercise changes. I’m all about increasing efficiency, and if I can meditate whilst exercising or as I drift off to sleep, then I feel like I am crossing two things off my list; spoken like a real Type A personality type here!
I wanted to end EPISODE 30 of the podcast with a ‘WALKING meditation’, which begins at 27.15.
Jump onto your favourite host to stream!