From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed at night we are working, parenting, cleaning the house, doing laundry, driving around, listening to music, watching or reading the news, and reacting to life around us. We often don’t have peace or quiet moments unless we intentionally make time for it. While we are so used to being “busy” all the time, let's create a challenge to sneak some quiet moments for reflection, meditation, and ourselves.
Often when we think about physical fitness we think: running, biking, lifting weights, aerobic classes, swimming, etc. We put focus on the busy movement, hard impact, and high intensity. However, we should put a little more time in our weeks for yoga, meditation, and practicing mindfulness into our fitness practices.
There are many benefits to practicing mindfulness such as:
- Improving well-being, increasing your awareness of life around you, and accepting what can’t be controlled. Being more engaged in current activities and less worry about the future or past.
- Boost in confidence and connection with others. When we are connected to the moment we are in we are able to better put our attention on those we are with.
- Improve physical health by better managing and relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and improving sleep.
- Better improve our mental health by using it to help with depression, anxiety, and conflict.
How do we add mindfulness and meditation into our routine?
There are many ways to practice, and it’s up to you to try and find what works best for you. The goal of any mindfulness practice is to achieve a state of alert focus with relaxation, deliberately paying attention to your thoughts and sensations without shaming, judging or bringing yourself down. Allow your mind to focus completely on the present moment.
Basic mindfulness- sit quietly in a comfortable space, focus on your breath, slowing yourself down, and allow thoughts to flow through your mind, relaxing with your thoughts and slowly accept what comes.
Body sensations- laying on your back and going from head to toe tense different muscle groups then relax allowing the tension to flow from your body, notice each area in succession and allow it to flow out.
Emotions- allow yourself to feel your emotions and understand that you feel that emotion and let it go. If you need to, practice labeling each emotion you feel and accept the presence of it. Often we get ashamed of feeling frustration and anger, but we need to be ok with feeling those emotions, let it sit for a minute and then let it go.
Mindfulness meditation is a practice of bringing awareness and attention to things around you, things you feel, and thoughts you have. So often we are so occupied with life, radio, news, tv, family, running errands, cooking, cleaning and we don’t slow down to process and feel.
Practice allowing yourself to go with the flow, observe your surroundings, thoughts, feelings, and not judging yourself, but allow it to let go. Pay attention to external sounds and sights to live in the moment and not occupy yourself with “what’s next”. Most importantly keep it up. Stay with it, find time to relax, take it in and bring more self-awareness.
Next to mindfulness is yoga. We can flow our body with our breath to gain great benefits:
- Improves strength, balance, and flexibility
- Helps with back pain relief
- Can ease arthritis symptoms
- Benefits heart health
- Relaxes you, to help you sleep better
- Can mean more energy and brighter moods
- Manage stress
- Find connections with community
Yoga can be done in our homes for a few minutes at a time, classes online, or find a studio near you. Take time in your routine to slow down, increase your awareness of what's around you, your thoughts, ambitions and allow it to calm you and help find growth.
about the author
Linnley is a Cancer Exercise Specialist. She joined HealthTree in January 2020 to share her passion for health. Her husband is a Childhood Cancer Survivor as well as a Cancer Biologist. Finding a cure, better treatments, and balancing life through treatment is a huge passion of their family. She's a mom of an energetic 6-year old, marathon runner, and Ironman finisher. Fitness has been a huge part of her life, and she loves to share it with others.