I wanted to start with a post on a topic which is at the core of our business. Yes, you guessed it - mindfulness.
You will no doubt have seen it mentioned many times on this website. Hopefully you’re not sick of it already.
If so, you may be in the wrong place.
You may also be wondering exactly how we incorporate mindfulness into our training sessions. So, I’m here to hopefully answer this question for you with a few examples.
Firstly, what does it meant to be mindful?
Well, mindfulness simply means paying attention to the present moment. It’s actually a very simple concept and can be applied to any aspect of your life to create more peace, joy, better focus and help get you out of your head.
When we are stuck in our heads and obsessed with our thoughts we leave very little space for the “real” stuff that actually enhances our quality of life.
Below I have listed three ways in which we incorporate mindfulness into our services.
One way in which we train you mindfully is by being mindful of your body, and treating you as an individual.
Before your trainer even thinks about creating an exercise program of any kind, they will perform a full postural assessment on you in order to identify if you have any postural weaknesses or imbalances.
This means your trainer can then build individual programs based on your postural strengths and weaknesses, ensure you are using the correct exercise technique, give you exercises that will correct and improve any imbalances you may have, and avoid further damage or injury.
Being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses is also a great start to being more mindful of the movements your body makes in everyday life and when training. It encourages you to focus on the movements and feelings of your body rather than thinking about what you’re going to have for tea or your wild (or not so), Saturday night plans.
We love to incorporate meditation into our group classes and training sessions. Why? Meditation brings about heightened awareness and energy and a clear mind which allows you to bring more focus and energy into your workouts, thus making them more effective, and enjoyable.
Being in this heightened state allows you to be more aware of what your body is doing and therefore increases your capacity for good form, ensuring you are working your muscles correctly and therefore not wasting energy or causing injury to your body. In short, you will get more out of your workouts and reach your goals more quickly.
Meditation is also very effective at clearing our minds of negativity. Negative thoughts can actually lead to diminished strength in our muscles. The power of our thoughts over are bodies is actually pretty amazing. Negative thoughts zap our energy and focus whereas positive ones have the opposite effect. So, this is why we love to bring a little peace to your mind before you exercise, so you can reach a state of heightened mental and physical strength.
One of the mindfulness techniques we teach is mindful breathing. This can be as simple as bringing your focus to your breath which helps to anchor you to the present moment. If you feel your mind wandering during an exercise routine or throughout your meditation we will encourage you to take a few deep, mindful breaths to help bring your focus back. Bringing your focus back will help you reap all the rewards of being in that heightened state of awareness, as mentioned above.
Mindful breathing is beneficial during any exercise but is especially important during the practice of yoga. Yoga is the union of your mind, body and breath and therefore matching your breathing with your movements is an essential element. We will teach you the correct way to breathe during yoga practices allowing you to eventually flow between poses effortlessly, reaching a meditative state.
The power of the breath and it’s effect on the mind and body can be profound and there are endless ways in which we can use the breath to enhance our life. Practicing proper breathing during exercises and meditation will in turn result in more efficient natural breathing. Better breathing can lead to improved sleep, mood, digestion, functioning of your heart, nervous system and your brain and even alleviate anxiety and increase your energy levels.
I hope these above examples have helped you to better understand some of the methods we use at OPT in our services and the profound way in which mindful training can impact your life!
Keep being mindful you lot, and remember, the present moment is the only one we have - enjoy it :)