You’ve heard all the hype about mindfulness. Be present, in the moment, devoted 100% to the experience of now. It’s one of the key benefits of yoga and internal style martial arts such as Tai Chi. Did you know you can take it to the weight room or the park, too? What it’s really about is simply paying attention to your body. Any time you do an exercise, sync it with your breathing, stay relaxed, and focus on what your body is telling you. Is the exercise a little easier if you rotate your shoulder this way? Do you feel more tension in this muscle or that one? Is there pain in the movement or does it flow freely? These are just examples of the infinite questions you could be asking yourself.
By practicing paying attention to your body during exercise, it makes it easier to start paying attention to what your body is telling you all the time. You may start to notice patterns like your hamstrings get tight a day or two before you get sick or if you eat too much sugary food, your joints feel stiff. This type of body awareness will help you alter your lifestyle to do what is right for you and keep yourself healthy.
Another benefit to mindfulness in movement is increased performance. As you practice mindfulness with your movements, your brain is able to more efficiently create proprioceptive “maps” of your body in various positions. These maps will help your brain create new motor programs more quickly and allow it to create new patterns almost instantly when necessary, allowing you to reflexively react safely to situations that would normally cause injury. You will also find your mobility increasing, as your brain develops more complete body maps of a greater variety of positions. Increased mobility