Connecting your mind and body through movement
As important as it is to have a healthy diet, we can all agree that exercise is a key component to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and many other nourishing components from a healthy diet will help prevent and treat diseases, especially when paired with movement. There are many different types of exercises you can practice, from a walk to hitting the gym. However, it should be something that you enjoy. Unfortunately, most people think that exercise is only for weight loss or muscle gain. They learn to disconnect from their body to push through pain and discomfort, so they can focus on burning calories or achieve their fitness goal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing to have a fitness goal. But exercise should work to connect your mind and body, and you need to also listen to understand when it is time to stop.
When building a healthy lifestyle, include healthy patterns that include exercise and mindfulness. You can do this very easily by cultivating awareness during your workout sessions. As you are moving, take a moment to tune into what is going on outside your body. For example, if you are out on a walk, pay extra attention to the following things:
- Listen to your feet hit the ground.
- Notice the flowers or plants around you.
- Observe the view you have.
- Smell the fresh air outside.
- Feel how your clothing and shoes rub against your body.
- Notice what is happening with your arms and the positions you are using.
All these things change, and taking a moment to evaluate them helps to manage stress and increase relaxation. If you are asking yourself “how can I do these things in an indoor setting?” here are other examples:
- Feel your hands or feet pressing against the floor in yoga class.
- Listen to the breath of everyone around you.
- Notice the trembling of your muscles as they tire
- Feel the stretch in your spine as you move into different exercise positions.
- Notice the cool air moving in through your nose and into your chest, then the warm air moving out through your mouth.
Check all the things mentioned in the beginning, the middle, and towards the end of a workout. You’re probably not going to spend your entire workout completely checked in with your body, and that’s completely fine! Think of this as taking mindful moments to tune in throughout. The idea is that with time, you’ll naturally be more in tune with your body, and will notice aspects of your environment as well as your body without even thinking about it. Essentially, with time you will begin to engage in more mindful movements without it being an intentional focus.