Both physical exercise and mindfulness have complementary benefits. They can help you manage your stress, improve your sense of personal empowerment and well-being, and even help you sleep better. Research for both health practices has also revealed life-extending benefits, too (meaning that by making both a part of your daily practice you may end up having more time to get more out of your life).
For some of us, of course, moving and sweating seems a lot easier than the idea of sitting still. The good news is that not all meditation requires physical stillness—just mental stillness! Here a few ways to tap into your meditative power through movement.
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3 Ways to Incorporate the Powerful Combo of Meditation and Exercise Into Your Daily Training
1. Practice yoga.
Yoga is an ancient practice that anyone can benefit from, no matter how flexible or inflexible you may be. The deep attention you give to your body during class is a great way to become more present and joyful in the moment—which is ultimately one of the main goals of meditation. Plus, being guided by a teacher and surrounded by other people who are engaging in the same level of gentle focus as you is super empowering. Similar activities that emphasize mindfulness with movement include tai chi and Pilates.
2. Focus on your breath.
When you focus on your breathing as you workout, your exercise can become a meditation in its own right. Whether you’re lifting weights or in the middle of a cardio workout, try to bring your thoughts away from how hard it is or whatever’s going on in your life at the moment and instead focus on the rhythm and feel of your breath. Trust us: you’ll get a lot more out of your workout this way (physically and mentally).
3. Try auditory entrainment.
Straight from the physical rehabilitation world, listening to a rhythmic beat while working out can actually help stimulate your neuromuscular system, keep you motivated, and keep you focused during a workout. Consider downloading songs that match the tempo of your movement and focusing on the beat as you sweat. Alternatively, consider “entraining” yourself to a phrase that you repeat in your head, akin to mantra-based meditations such as Transcendental Meditation and similar practices. A few phrases to try? “I can feel the energy coursing through my body,” “I am strong,” or “Health, wealth, abundance.”
Got any other unique ways to blend meditation and exercise together? Let us know in the comments!