Embodied Awareness: Exploring the Power of Mindful Movement
We know movement and exercise are beneficial for overall health. There is no end to the ways you can move your body, but do you ever feel like you 'should' be running? Or you 'should' be doing more yoga?
When we see children playing at the playground, we are witnessing joy. Movement and joy. They are not thinking that they need to get their daily steps or close a ring on their watch or that they are doing it for their health, but rather the pure enthusiasm that comes from doing what your body is supposed to: MOVE.
Somehow, as adults, we can stray away from this and it's why so many of us can really struggle with finding an exercise practice that we can stick with, and enjoy.
My number one rule for every client that is looking to achieve some kind of fitness routine is to pick something you enjoy.
Hate running? Don't do it. Can't get into the zen zone with yoga, then stop. LOVE crossfit? GO for it! Enjoy long walks? You go Glen Coco!
So how do we bring mindfulness into our movement beyond just choosing something we enjoy? Let's explore!
Exercise with Intention: This will always be my number one recommendation. Choose activities that you genuinely enjoy and that align with your goals and values. Whether it's walking, yoga, dancing, or weightlifting, you do you - what brings you joy and fulfillment?
Mindful Movement: Approach exercise as an opportunity to connect with your body. Sometimes it can be an opportunity to escape, and that's ok, but we rarely stop to actually pay attention to what our bodies tell us. Be present during your workout, paying attention to the sensations, your breath, and the movement of your muscles.
Be Kind to Yourself: Avoid self-judgment or comparison when it comes to exercise, who cares what the person on the bike next to you is doing, or if that woman across the room can touch her toes and you can't? That's not why you showed up.
Listen to what your body needs: Not every workout is the same, some days you are going to crush it and feel like a rockstar, and some days, you just feel heavy and slow. Your body is asking for you to give it what it needs, allow some flexibility in your routine to accommodate it.
Mindful Rest and Recovery: Allow yourself adequate time for rest and recovery. Listen to your body when it needs a break and honor its need for relaxation and rejuvenation, you can't grow, gain, or get faster without downtime.
Mindful Reflection: Take a few moments at the end of the day to reflect on your relationship with exercise. Notice any patterns, emotions, or thoughts that arise. Cultivate awareness and make adjustments as needed.
Embracing mindful movement and cultivating a deep connection between our mind and body can unlock the potential for greater self-awareness, presence, and well-being. It is not about competing with others, or achieving perfection (what is that anyway?) but honoring our bodies and the beauty of where they are in this moment.
Whether it's practicing yoga, engaging in dance, or simply taking a mindful walk in nature, we have the opportunity to fully inhabit our bodies, tune into the present moment, and tap into the wisdom that resides within.