5 Minute Read
Is it possible to meditate while you're doing exercise? And why might it be a good thing to try?
Research suggests that if you intentionally 'meditate' on the feeling of exercising and consciously take in your surroundings as you work out, then you will enjoy it more.
In this article we suggest 5 Steps and 5 Mantras to help you practice meditating while you move.
Step 1: Set an Intention
Before you’ve even tied your trainers, set an intention. And if you're stuck for ideas, try one of ours:
“I am willing to make this the most focussed workout ever."
“I am willing to make this the most self-compassionate workout ever."
As we say in class, the hardest part of your routine is already done - you’ve shown up for yourself to support your body and mind, and setting an intention is a big part of that first step.
Mantra 1: "I Am Enough".
Step 2: Unplug
Next up, disconnect from any music you are listening to. This can help you become fully present as you move. You can come back to your music later, but for the sake of this mindfulness experiment, I really encourage you to try and switch off for a moment. It's important to remove external distractions.
Interval 2: "I Let Go Of Worry".
Step 3: Listen to your body, not your thoughts.
Sometimes the thoughts in our heads can sound like a sergeant major. We tell ourselves we're not working hard enough or we're not as good as the people around us. Here’s your chance to switch your attention away from your brain and instead turn it towards how your body physically feels.
Ask yourself - does my body feel energised or tired? Is there any tightness in my muscles? Is my jaw clenched?
By simply noticing how your body feels you begin to step outside of your thoughts, and take charge of your brain as well as your body.
Interval 3: "My Body Is Healthy".
Step 4: Tune into your breath.
Each inhale and each exhale can be used as an anchor, connecting your attention to the present moment. Particularly when that pesky brain begins to think unhelpful thoughts - that you're not good enough,
When your mind wanders - which it always will, because that's what minds do - notice the thought and then reconnect to your ever-present breath. Watch with interest at how the tempo of your breath speeds up as you work harder and slows down when you take a break. Use your breath as a cue to challenge yourself more or ease up a little. The breath is a reliable signpost for how your body is feeling.
Interval 4: "I Inhale Positivity And Exhale Negativity".
Step 5: Accept how you feel.
One way of being mindful is by accepting things as you find them. In your mind and in your life - the good, the bad and the ugly. Allow the present moment and your present thoughts to be as they are, without judgement, and without wishing that moment to be different than it is.
This means acknowledging how you feel, but then forging ahead anyway. Even when you notice yourself resisting your mindfulness or your exercise, commit to this time you have set aside for yourself. Remember your intention, and stay present.
Interval 5: "I Love Myself Deeply And Completely".