Try this mind-body breathing technique to add mindfulness to your workouts.
The goal of this exercise is to clear the mind or “set the stage” for your workout. As a personal trainer, my clients have shared with me that starting their session with this brief 1-3 minute breathing exercise helps them set an intention and assist them in deciding how they want to feel at the end of their session.
Asking yourself, “How do I want to feel at the end of this workout?” can be a powerful question to reflect on and practice your mindfulness with. It’s important to have a goal and work towards an end result and the breath work allows space to accomplish just that. Find a comfortable spot on a bench or mat and I will guide you through this breath connection exercise.
You have the option to have your eyes open or closed. The choice is yours and you are in control of this process. I would like to suggest letting any tension melt out, down and away from your shoulders and upper back. Feel your body sink comfortably and safely downward, relaxing into this position.
Now, tune in to your breath. Simply notice your breathing and let go of judgement. Notice the inhale, then notice the exhale. Feel the breath pull in gently and leave gently. Bring awareness to the inhale filling the lungs and expanding the rib cage, and the exhale releasing any tension or negative thoughts you may have, letting go of anything you no longer need. Simply breathing.
Bring awareness to the workout you are about to begin. Simply acknowledge exactly where you are to engage in a mindful movement. Allow yourself a moment to breathe in and out on those thoughts. Give some thought and space to how you and your body want to feel and receive movement today. Thoughts on how you would like to feel, what sensations your body would welcome and appreciate. What thoughts in your mind would be kind, gentle and positive? Take a moment to breathe in your intentions for today. Notice your breath and body in the space you are in.
When you’re ready, begin wiggling your fingers and toes, inviting movement and bringing awareness to your surroundings. Breathe in a deep breath as you are ready to begin your mindful workout.