They’re the long lost cousins no one expected to unite. On their own they’re incredibly beneficial, however when their forces are combined, they’re even more powerful than first thought. Exercise and meditation- how can the two work together to benefit you?
People tend to affiliate meditation with those who have a strong spiritual presence and it’s often brushed aside. That’s the alarming part. Your average Joe isn’t aware of just how beneficial meditation can be for each and every one of us. Whether it’s used in the gym, at yoga or as an enabler for dealing with life’s everyday curveballs, meditation is powerful and it can have a positive impact on many aspects of life! Meditation promotes progressive muscle relaxation while increasing our productivity and ability to focus.
As for exercise, we’ve all felt its incredible benefits. It triggers the release of endorphins and promotes energy and blood flow throughout the body. It feels pretty damn good and it’s the reason we turn up to the gym each week. However, with the help of meditation, the benefits of exercise can be heightened and it can have a positive impact on our happiness, performance and muscle recovery.
Meditation before a workout
If you’re looking to increase your performance during training, make time for meditation before your workout. A short meditation session will encourage the mind to stay focused during the workout, and will allow it to team up with your body, rather than fight against it. Your mind and body will work together and there won’t be a mental battle as to whether you should do 5 or 10 reps. Whether it’s weight training, cardio or Pilates, meditation prepares all parts of the body for top performance. Pre- workout meditation can be as simple as incorporating some deep and mindful breathes into your stretching routine. Hold each stretch for 5 breathes, ensuring your inhalation is deep, and your exhalation is complete. Take this technique one step further and combine yoga and meditation. Yoga prior to any form of rigorous physical activity prepares the mind, muscles and joints!
Meditation after a workout
It may sound like a simple task, but not all of us can sit in stillness for 10 minutes, especially in preparation for a workout. It can often be very beneficial to burn off some excess energy before channelling your inner focus and consequently meditating after your workout. Meditation after the daily grind and your exercise regime is the perfect way to unwind and de-stress. It’s also a great way to sit back and feel the endorphins rushing around the body, post-workout. Exercise is a great way to clear your head and remove the unwanted clutter you’re storing upstairs. This puts down a welcome mat for meditation and will make it far easier to control your thoughts. In the same way mentioned above, meditation can be incorporated into your post-workout stretching regime in the form of mindful breathing. It can also be done in complete stillness for optimum relaxation. A great way to relax completely is to lie flat on your back with your eyes closed, moving through each limb and relaxing it as it passes through your thoughts. This muscle relaxation technique allows your body to absorb the goodness from your workout!
Have a play around with pre and post workout meditation and find out what works best for you. Start focusing on the mind, body and soul during your workout!