5 Steps to Being More Present During Exercise
The past few weeks have been busy. Busy with in depth-conversations with my clients, meaningful chats and interesting discussions. Busy with breakthroughs, realisations, "Eureka" and "Aha!" moments. Take my client Dan for example, for whom just a few weeks ago, weight training seemed to be a no-fly zone; a land of mystical and terrible powers that seemed unreachable, unattainable and downright unpleasant.
And then things changed.
The look in his eyes shifted. The expression of struggle on his face relaxed. And his performance increased.
Dan began to understand that the "struggle" and "pain" he was perceiving during exercise was in fact created by him.
He began to realise that some strongly held limiting beliefs about exercise (and weight training in particular) were getting in the way.
He began to see that even though he was using his body, he was completely disengaged from it and from what was going on - instead his mind was focussing on the perceived pain, discomfort and unpleasantness of the exercise.
And he began to understand that, as everything in life, it was a behaviour he could change.
And so we started to help him get out of his mind and into his body. In other words: to be more present.
Now, you may have heard the term "being present" many times before. But what does it actually mean? My definition of presence is being at one with the current moment, fully relaxed into whatever is happening around you, and fully engaged with every detail.
Being present and embodied is the key to enjoying your training, to increasing your performance, and to fully master your body and your movements.
How can you increase your presence?
1. Set your intention
Before each workout, set, or activity, you must remind yourself of your willingness to stay in the now. Send a clear message to your subconscious about what you want to achieve: take a moment to decide to engage 100% in the upcoming moment.
2. Focus on your breath
Your breath is one of the few constants in your life. Always present, it is a reminder of your aliveness, your energy and your physical body. Focus on the flow of air in and out from your nose and mouth during training. Feel your belly rising as you inhale, and falling as you exhale. Notice the sensations in your body during each breath.
3. Focus on your form
At the same time, be fully aware of your technique. Being present means constantly refining your movements, posture and form. Connect to your body and "feel" the exercise. Avoid using too many visual cues such as mirrors for guidance. Learn to rely on your spatial awareness instead.
4. Use your 5 senses
Our 5 senses allow us to fully experience our world and our lives. Learn to use them while training: notice the light, the smells, the sensations of your body against your clothes, etc.
5. Practice consistently
Increasing your presence requires constant practice. Bring yourself back to your body as many times as you can: hundreds, if not thousands of times throughout each day, each workout, each activity. Over time you will develop your "embodiment muscles", and it will become easier and easier.
Action: Take a minute right now to be fully present wherever you are. Use your senses, look around you at the objects, the spaces between the objects. Notice the noises around you, the colours, the smells. Feel your breathing, your belly's gentle rhythm. And notice your posture: which parts of your body are you tightening up, which parts are you relaxing? Practice for a few minutes, then leave a comment below describing your experience.
Love & Health,