In the 2013 post-apocalyptic movie After Earth, General Cypher Raige, played by Will Smith, tells his son to take a knee when he begins to panic. He tells him to do this, so he can bring his senses back into the moment. The figurative and implicit meaning of this is a powerful motif of being grounded in the moment, a core aspect of mindfulness.
Now, there are so many ways to be mindful in life, but, few people talk about being mindful while working out.
When it comes to exercising, “being grounded in the moment” ensures your safety and keeps you focused on the tasks at hand. It helps you keep your mind and body in sync as you go through the motions. Despite the plethora of proven benefits from mindfulness meditation, you also get the benefits of a workout.
This discipline of being grounded in the moment is a fantastic opportunity to meditate and connect with your inner self. The mindfulness meditations you will learn about all follow a similar pattern of becoming mindful before your exercise and then embracing the workout.
Here we will go into more specific detail on how to combine exercise with mindfulness.
Your legs are pumping, and your heart is thumping. Blood is coursing through your veins and you feel the pain, you feel the stress, but, you feel alive. Running is a beautiful activity. A primal activity the invites you to connect with your ancestors who traveled afoot.
Using this time to meditate is powerful. Here is how to do it. Before you start your run, go through all your gear, one piece at a time. Look over your shoes, take your track suit and go through each item. Take in the entire ensemble.
Once you are dressed up, take some time to stretch and warm up your muscles. Think about each muscle in your body stretching and warming up, ready for the run. Envision your run. See how great it will be. Imagine how you will run. Imagine the how you feel once the run is complete. Visualize your destination.
Once you hit the track, feel every step as your feet pound the ground. Inhabit the moment fully and embrace the way your body feels. Do not try to avoid the pain or stress. Instead, accept that they are normal. Once your run is done, feel the air rushing in and out of your lungs. The blood slowing down in your veins. Your heart quieting down.
Let gratefulness wash over you.
Cycling is a beautiful symphony of man and machine. An amalgamation of two instances of reality. Finding your inner self while cycling can be a beautiful thing. Do it this way. Before your ride, examine your bike.
Connect with every aspect of it. Look at the tires, run your hands over the frame, take in the brakes and the chain. Next, do some stretches. Let your body feel every stretch, every twist. Focus your mind on how your body feels.
Next, get on your bike and begin cycling. Feel the wind blow against your cycling jersey. Open your mind to feel all the sensations of every pedal, every push. Now focus your mind on the tandem rhythm of the bike and your body.
Is not the rhythm beautiful? Does it not remind you of the rhythm of life? At the end of your ride, take a moment to examine your bike again. Examine your body too. Lastly examine your mind. Ensure all are in a state of rest.
The joy of walking can only be fully expressed in the glee of a child who just took their first step. We spend the rest of our lives not being mindful of this amazing gift. Next time you take a walk, here is how to zoom in.
Before you start the walk, take some time to consider the sheer wonder of walking. The balance across a moving fulcrum. The delicate dance each muscle plays to trick gravity into letting you walk.
As you embark on your walk, zoom in on all that is around you. The pebble you accidentally kicked. The birds flying high up in the sky. The fellow walker you just passed. Let your mind inhabit the moment, feel every step you take.
As you reach the end of your walk, listen your thoughts keenly. Are they quiet and rhythmic as your steps? Is your heartbeat playing in tandem to your steps? Finally, when you stand still, be still inside for a moment. Live in that moment, for a moment.
Yoga is a beautiful exercise and art. The yogis who inspired yoga brought a sense of mindfulness and meditation with their teachings. To remember the true meaning of yoga, follow these steps next time you embark on a yoga session.
Start by taking a moment to quiet down. Do this by listening to and following you breathing. Listen and feel the air enter and leave your lungs. Next, as you take the first position, feel your entire body and being move in accord.
Experience your every muscle obey your mind as you transition to the next position. Follow each step with your mind, never allowing your mind to wander. Resist the urge to “skip” to the end of your thought process.
As you finish and cool down, bring your breathing slowly to an even keel. Open your senses to all that is without and within you. Feel the universe accept you in that beautiful and infinite moment.
Nothing speaks peace and tranquility like open water. The feeling of floating in time and space as you sit in your kayak is priceless. Here is how you can derive even great peace as you kayak.
Before you set out, inhabit the moment as you examine your gear. Ground yourself in each checkmark as you tick off the essentials. Next, as you get into the water ready to board your kayak, let the water overwhelm you. Feel the tiny eddies greet you in silence.
Feel the lightness and safety of your kayak as it floats on the water. Once on board and you start paddling, do not let your mind wander. Let your mind feel every paddle, hear every splash, experience each movement.
Allow yourself to be mindful of all that is around you. The water, the sky, the sun, the birds, the insects. Everything. As you head home, let the bounty of Mother Earth fill you with gratitude.
Meditating while you exercise is a wonderful way to tone your physical muscles as well as the muscles of your mind. To bring your inner self to a sense of wellness and wholeness even as your body changes.
Being mindful in everything you do is a powerful way of staying aware and awake to all that is happening outside and inside you.
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