by mindfulmovement | 3 comments
Mindfulness…….such a trendy word these days. There are so many meditation apps, YouTube videos, Instagram and Facebook quotes telling you to become more “mindful” in order to achieve calmness and happiness. But what actually is mindfulness?
To me, mindfulness is a few things.
The first thing I think of, being in the health and fitness industry, is mindful movement. Way too many of us are moving mindlessly during our workouts which then continues into our everyday lives. When it comes to exercise, a lot of people are too focused on getting to their calorie goal or getting their miles/steps in just so they can mark it off their “to do” list and go on with their day, probably even thinking about the rest of their day while they workout.
Of course, this can lead to injury by not focusing on correct form but we are also probably not getting the most out of our workouts. This was me! Even when I started doing yoga, probably the most “mindful” type of movement, my mind was elsewhere. At first, I just wanted to be more mobile, stretch farther and hit my inversion goals. I would compare myself to the instructor or the other students around me. I would tell myself I should look a certain way in each pose. Yoga is not about that AT ALL. It is the least competitive type of body movement we can do and that is why it is so beneficial mentally and emotionally. Yoga is about breath and breathing through the poses. Most people think yoga is about the poses when actually it is about the transition between the poses and finding your breath to movement flow. Asking your body what it wants and throwing your ego out the window. Once we do that, we are being mindful!
After I understood this, yoga transitioned off my mat and into my everyday life and to every aspect of my workouts. All of a sudden, I was doing breath to movement during my deadlift, my back squat, my KB snatches, my mobility work, running, etc. Yoga has taught me to focus on nothing else but that one rep, that one second, each step I take during my run. Too many of us are focused on the end, looking at the clock or our fitness watches constantly. Only concerned about finishing at a certain time, or being first or maybe even already knowing you will finish last. Once we stop this, focus on our breath and our form, we get stronger, faster, more mobile and end up actually enjoying movement a little bit more. At the end, start reflecting on how present you were during your workout and how it felt. How do you feel mentally and emotionally? Does it match how you feel physically? Are you physically drained? Your workout should leave you feeling refreshed and energized, ready to take on the rest of your day. Maybe you went too hard or didn’t push yourself enough. Its ok no matter what, as long as you recognize it. You will become more intuitive and be able to push yourself at the right level for that day based on how you are feeling. Your daily movement should be the time where we get away from our outside lives and focus on you and giving back to your body and mind. You will find yourself happier and more excited for that next workout.
After we understand how to be more mindful in the gym we understand how to take it outside of the gym. We think twice about how we pick up our kids, how we unload the dishwasher with a good hip hinge or even thinking about good squat form as we get on and off the toilet! We think about good diaphragmatic breathing when we get stressed and good core braces when we pick up something off the ground. As we engrain these good, mindful movement patterns in our head, they become second nature and we don’t have to be quite as mindful. This is why the name of my business came about. I want to help people become more mindful during their physical movements so it transitions to every aspect of their lives.
The second way I think about mindfulness is being emotionally and mentally mindful. I am an extremely type A person that lives off sticky notes and marking off what I have done. I am always thinking about the next thing I have to do. I am always “rushing” to relax and then stressing about what else I can do once I get there. It is an exhausting cycle. I still struggle with this daily and have better days than others, but the good thing is that now I recognize it. Recognition equals mindfulness! I catch myself when I get overwhelmed. We need to be ok with not getting everything done on our to-do list and asking ourselves is this worth my mental health? A helpful thing I started doing is putting the important things at the top of my list. Maybe it’s just one or two things I absolutely have to get done that day and following it with things that can wait. If I feel like I have plenty of time and am not overwhelmed, I may do a few more but if not, it’s not a big deal. Our society makes us think that busy is good. When in reality, we all need to slow down, enjoy the world around us and stop comparing ourselves to others or caring about what others think we should be doing. You don’t necessarily have to do yoga to become mindful. A good start to incorporating mindfulness into our lives is going on a short walk and noticing all the things you smell, what you can hear, how the wind feels against your skin. Check in with your emotions and ask yourself how are you really doing? Just like in the gym, when we become connected with ourselves and our emotions we treat ourselves and other in our lives better than before.
The last thing I think of when I think of mindfulness is sustainability. This has gotten more and more important to me as I grow and learn more about our environment. I won’t get into all the dreadful pollution stats and plastic talk but sustainability shouldn’t just be something you do only if you are “passionate” about it. We all just need to become more mindful about it and the decisions we make. It is our obligation to our planet and our future generations. We all need to be smarter consumers. Asking yourself, is it really worth it to use a single use plastic item for a couple minutes just for slight convenience that will not doubt impact our earth and future generations? I understand, that plastic usage and fossil fuels are all around us and it’s nearly impossible to go completely waste free. Changes, of course, need to happen on a much higher level, but those changes will not occur unless each of us makes these small changes. Our society has normalized convenience and extreme plastic and fossil fuel usage. All we can do is take a stand and buy more eco-friendly products and spread the word! My goal is always TRY and make sustainable choices!! Not getting discouraged when I fail or being too hard on myself. Making some of these changes are hard and being sustainable you have to get creative! A lot of times we have to make our own stuff and plan ahead. Every day we make choices on what we buy, eat and consume. It can get very overwhelming especially when you look at the plastic stats and think there is no way I am going to make a difference, but guess what? You do!!! When you make eco-friendly decisions look fun and cool, it spreads! Talk about the awesome discount you get by bringing your reusable coffee cup to your local café, post a picture of the homemade laundry detergent or shampoo you just made. Share your garden food with friends so they want to start a garden or shop at a farmer’s market. Buy the cutest reusable shopping bag so people always ask where you got it! Share your favorite meatless recipe. Once we all start normalizing sustainably BIG changes will happen. Everyone wears a mask now! If you don’t, you are not the norm! If a worldwide change like that can happen in less than 4 months, we can save our planet. It is our job to make small, mindful decisions every day to save our planet. It is the only one we have!
So in closing, mindfulness is a LOT of things. Much more than I even touched on. But the more we start implementing and practicing it the more it starts to spread into all parts of our lives which is the key to being happy and enjoying life and the people that share it with us.
Patriciaon September 7, 2020 at 3:18 pm
You were so “mindful “ in creating this post! Well-done! I, too, hurry through my yoga practice on some days, thinking about the next thing on my list. We wear our busyness like a crown on our heads. It’s time to slow down and appreciate what we’ve been given.(Video) 10-Minute Morning Movement Routine - The Source Chiropractic
Deb Marinoon June 21, 2022 at 11:53 pm
Excellent read. As an athletic young person to a degenerative arthritis laden not so young…mindfulness, peace and positivity is so important at my stage in life. You speak such purity and truth. Keep it real, keep it moving and keep on going. 😊
- (Video) Mindfulness for the body-the chiropractic approach
sikis izleon May 30, 2022 at 12:38 pm
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