In simple terms, the practice of mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you are doing. Being mindful is a superpower that can bring benefits to your emotional and physical well-being. By incorporating mindful movement, you can further strengthen that mind-body connection.
Fitness burnout is real and mindful movement is in as we look for new ways to incorporate conscious movement that aligns with the flow of our daily lives.
Mindful movement is all about engaging in exercises while focusing full or most of your attention on those movements (as well as your breathing). The practice is all about your mind syncing with the flow of your movement. Similar to when you redirect your attention onto your breathing in yoga, the concept is applied to virtually every exercise where this is possible.
The practice of mindful movement can teach us many things about ourselves and our body—and can unite the two together in flow and harmony.
Why Practicing Mindful Movement Is Important
There are several benefits when it comes to moving your body mindfully. In a world filled with constant stress, finding positive outlets in our daily lives is essential. The practice of mindful movement can help us achieve this—regardless of the type of exercise you’re into.
Movement is good for us. Exercise and moving the body can help us to avoid illness and disease, allowing us to live longer. Exercise helps us remain at a healthy weight, stay strong and decrease the feeling of energyless and/or lethargicness.
When it comes to the mind, the effects of mindfulness on its own and when it comes to exercise are astounding. They have both been linked to a reduction in stress and anxiety and improvements in mood. Let’s be honest, that post-exercise high is a fact.
The practice of mindful movement helps to increase awareness of our own bodies, of tensions, pain and stressors that need our attention. It helps us get to know our own bodies inside-out.
Mindful movement is a way of looking at not just movement, but at life in a way that grounds us in the present.
Here are four steps to get you started with mindful movement.
Get Started with Mindful Movement
1. Begin with mindset
When it comes to mindfulness, whether it’s mindful meditation, mindful eating or mindful movement, it’s all-important to start with mindset. The key to beginning with mindful movement is tapping into your why and acknowledging that it is enough.
Before beginning, ask yourself the following questions: why are you interested in more mindful movement and what is your goal? The answers can help not only get you started, keep you motivated long term.
It’s also important to acknowledge that mindful, slow movement is enough. It counts as exercise. Know that you don’t have to perform grueling workouts for hours every day nor sweat buckets for your workout to “count.”
Mindful exercise such as a yoga or Pilates class definitely counts toward your daily movement.
2. Ditch your devices
We all know about the pros of a digital detox and how taking a break from our device and social media has numerous health benefits.
When it comes to mindful movement, devices can actually be a distraction from our movement. The practice of mindful movement is about your movements, your breath, your body and how you become aware of these. Devices work to turn our attention away from the here and now.
During your mindful workout try to leave your device in another room or as far away as possible. Even if you are listening to music. Ditching your phone during a mindful workout will allow you to be fully present on your movement without having any distractions that redirect your attention.
3. Listen to your body
One of the benefits of mindful movement is that it allows you to tap into your body and increase awareness of tension and aches.
When moving slowly and mindfully, notice which movements and exercises you find easy, which ones are more difficult and which you can’t do whatsoever. The practice of mindful movements helps you to learn more about your body—and perhaps what you need to focus on in order to become stronger or more flexible.
It’s with mindful movement that you, for example, might discover a weak core. This deficit grants you the opportunity to focus on core strengthening exercises, which in turn can help you with other exercises and movements in the future.
Choose a movement that makes you happy
Committing to something we genuinely don’t enjoy is a challenge. The same goes for exercise. You’ll find it hard turning up either on your mat at home or going to a class if you’re forcing it.
Fun makes exercise much easier. So, make sure to choose a movement that makes you happy. Yoga not your thing? Then don’t do yoga. Focus on mindful running instead or another movement you enjoy.
Another way to amplify the enjoyment of your experience is to do it with friends. Chatting during a workout might pull you away from the practice of mindful movement, but working out with a friend could help with motivation.
Are you planning to give mindful movement a go? With benefits such as mind-body connection, grounding and exercising in a way that works for you, it might be exactly what you’re after to spice up your movement experience.
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