When you exercise, do you find yourself rummaging through your playlists just to find ANYTHING that could put you in the mood to move? Do you flip through the channels on the treadmill or at home, hoping to distract yourself from the pain/boredom/challenge that your workout demands? We are so very good at choosing something we want to do while simultaneously disconnecting from that very choice. Why is that?

If connection to the moment is something that matters to you, try out these meditations to use while exercising. For what it’s worth, these meditations have certainly changed the game for my home workouts, runs, and my personal yoga practice. Get in your mind and get connected with your body.

Before you begin any activity:

            Sit still for 2-3 minutes.

Focus on your breath moving in and out.

Allow your thoughts to swim in and out of your consciousness, then return your focus to your breath.

For Running

  • Count your footsteps in groups of 20
  • Create an intention or mantra (for example, “I am alive”), and think each syllable of your mantra with each footstep or repeat it every 4 -8 footsteps
  • Make a list of everything you see
  • Place your attention on other body parts in motion, besides your legs. Check in with their state of calm as they move along for the ride.
  • Imagine that your legs are like dogs, so incredibly excited to go out for a run. Feel them grip the ground and propel you forward and try to connect to a state of joy.

 For Weight-lifting/Circuit training/HIIT workouts

  • Create a mantra or intention that you can repeat with every rep.
  • Cycle two phrases with your inhale and exhale – for example,
    • INHALE: “I am strong”
    • EXHALE: “I am grounded”
  • Focus intensely on the muscles you are intending to use. Strive for your best form and feel your muscles working for you and with you.
  • After each rep, find a sense of gratitude for what your body is capable of.

For Yoga

  • Again, create an intention or mantra for your practice.
  • Many people use yoga as a way to stretch the body after a week’s worth of exercise. Try the mantra below for this type of flexibility work:
    • INHALE: “Length”
    • EXHALE: “Depth”
  • Do you use yoga for mindfulness practice? Work to maintain a steady inhale and exhale throughout your entire practice – perhaps 4-5 counts per breath in/breath out.
  • For emotional and mental health work, try this mantra:
    • INHALE: “I accept my emotion”
    • EXHALE: “I exhale compassion”

Written by Katy K