When I first train someone, I look to see how they move and whether their movement is mindful. Teaching people how to be more mindful during exercise is a big part of my coaching style. It develops both a stronger body and a steady mind.
My definition of ‘mindful’ movement is when you do anything physical with clear and present attention. I encourage my clients to use these 6 Steps before, during and after executing any given exercise or physical task.
- Focus on what action you will be doing.
Set-up your body.
- Focus on setting up your lower body first, by making sure your feet are firmly placed on the floor and your hips are square.
- Activate your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine, zipping up your imaginary jeans and finally, to activate your lower abs, stopping your pee.
- Set your upper body by finding neutral for your shoulders and neck. To do this, bring your shoulders back so they are under your ears, and your chin down, so that your eyes are looking straight ahead.
Steady your eyes.
- If your eyes are moving about, you are thinking about other things. You need to stay present to avoid injury and in some cases fix incorrect movement patterns.
Start the movement.
- Move slowly so you can adjust the movement through the full range of motion. It’s important not to rush through any exercise, as it increases rates of injury.
- Go through the checklist. Pretty soon it becomes automatic.
It takes time and energy to be mindful. Once you do, it makes all aspects of life a whole lot easier.