Mindful Movement in a Nutshell: Here’s What You Need to Know
We all know that fitness fads quickly come and go. Anyone remember the Shake Weight? Billy Blanks and the Tae Bo fanaticism? When a new gadget, technique, or method gains popularity, we’re often left wondering—is this here to stay or another flash-in-the-pan fad?
You may have heard the term “mindful movement” bantered about recently and thought, well, that sounds more than a little esoteric and somewhat hokey. We understand—but we’re here to lovingly disagree.
While the term “mindful movement” may be relatively new, it’s actually a trendy tagline given to an ancient practice that can benefit your current fitness program.
Still feeling unsure? We’ve got the answers and tips you need to feel comfortable with mindful movement.
What is Mindful Movement?
The practice of mindful movement means engaging in exercise while focusing your attention on your breath and how your body is moving. It’s likely something you’ve experienced during a yoga or Pilates session, when the instructor reminds you to re-stack your body (head over heart, heart over pelvis) or to press the curve of your spine into the mat during floor work. With mindful movement, there is an inherent intentionality in the way you move your body and the connection of breath to movement. By incorporating mindfulness into workouts, many people report feeling decreased stress and an increased sense of mental and physical wellbeing.
Incorporating Mindful Movement into Daily Life
If you’ve ever tried meditation, you know that picking up any new practice takes a little…well, practice. The same goes for mindful movement.
If you haven’t tried meditation before, it is an excellent place to start, as it requires you to quiet your mind, focus on your breathing, and increase awareness within your body. If you need a little help getting started, try one of these 3 Meditations for Beginners from our friends at Mindful.
Take a Meditative Walk
When taking a meditative walk, you’re not out to break speed records and torch calories. This walk doesn’t even require a destination. Spend time walking mindfully, focusing on your breath and how the movement feels as your feet touch the ground then lift. Pay attention to the sensations of your muscles and joints.
Take a Yoga or Pilates Class
It might surprise you to hear that mindfulness isn’t a guaranteed part of a Pilates or yoga class. Many classes these days are high energy, leaving little room for mind/body connection. Look for classes that use words like “restorative” or “meditative” in their titles. Vinyasa yoga classes often connect breath and body to the seamless flow of postures.
Engage in Mindful Strength Training
Many athletes don’t think about combining mindfulness with strength training, but the two go together like PB and J.
Connecting to your breath while strength training makes completing exercises easier and being mindful of how your entire body feels instead of focusing on the muscle you’re working can improve your results and help you avoid injury.
The art of mindful movement is a powerful technique that can help you improve the quality of your workouts and your overall mental and physical health. Give it a try and let us know what you think. And you can always join us in studio where we love connecting mind, body, and breath.
Stay strong, friends!