Mindful body practices like yoga and tai chi have been around for thousands of years, and many fitness instructors are starting to incorporate mindfulness into their trendy, modern-day workouts, as well. And while it can be great to have a guide leading you through any sort of mindfulness activity, you can also improve your workout—any workout—with mindfulness all on your own.
First, let’s take a step back and ask why we would want to do that in the first place. Different people have different definitions of mindfulness. To me, mindfulness is "awareness infused with intention." In many practices, that means intentionally placing your awareness on the present moment. We do this to feel fully alive and enjoy what’s happening right here, right now—to not get lost in worries about the past or the future.
We are at our best when our minds and bodies are synchronized. Our bodies are already living in the present moment, but as soon as we can use mindfulness to also bring our minds into the present moment, a kind of magic occurs. Things start to feel easier and more natural; we become more aware of our environment; we avoid injury. As we learn to let go of the story lines we tell ourselves about our workout, our fitness, and our bodies, we might learn to look forward to our workouts more. Ultimately we just might end up with an all-around better workout!
Mindfulness is like a muscle you have to train. It requires practice and repetition. Here are some ways to practice mindfulness during your workout: