Often times after summer, we fall out of the fitness
mentality and into the warm comforts of autumnal
bliss. Sitting in front of the fire, we forget to move,
and the idea of body awareness, movement and breath falls out
the window. Instead of playing sports, we begin to watch them.
This fall, what can we do differently? How can we break our
habits and increase our mindfulness, and mind-body relationship
with itself and our environment?
Below are several ways to keep fitness at the forefront of
your mind and body this fall with mindful meditation, exercise
for the brain, body and breath.
Each morning, wake up 10 to 15 minutes earlier and spend
a little extra time with yourself, focus on your breathing, how the
breath enters the body, how it makes you feel as you breathe,
and how it exits the body. Pay attention to what happens to the
rest of the body as you continue to breathe and continue to
do the exercises, playing with the lengths of the inhales and
exhales. Make it an enjoyable experience, So that it is an opportunity
to learn more about your breath, your body and yourself.
There is always an opportunity to expand our mental, physical
and emotional selves. And this is one of them.
Meditation is exercise for our brains. The central nervous
system, which is run by the brain, controls our body and how
it functions, making it a crucial element of our fitness regimes.
Taking care of our brain IS taking care of our body. A study led
by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital,
found that meditating for only eight weeks actually changed the
brain’s grey matter. Grey matter is associated with processing
information as well as providing nutrients and energy to its neurons.
This is why it is said that mediation has shown to improve
memory, empathy, sense of self and stress relief.
When school is in session, mental acuteness is just as important
for the parent as it is the child. Meditation is proven to
sharpen the mind’s focus, lower stress levels and help manage
anxiety for the student and teacher, and ultimately the parents.
Meditation is key to prepare and react to your children’s
energies. When sitting in the car line to pick up the children
from school, arrive 20 minutes early to prepare mentally for the
sprightly youth to jump into cars with inquisitive and ever-so
exuberant minds and bundles of energy bouncing off the walls
and in the car seats. Meditation lowers our stress, raises our
endorphins and prepares us for anything that will ensue.
For those that require more of a structured schedule to hold
us accountable, one can begin a yoga practice. It is a great mental
and physical exercise that improves balance. Yoga, meaning
union of the breath with the body, brings self-awareness, acceptance
and peace with our body-mind relationship, and with our
body and mind relationship with it’s surrounding environment.
One can begin to practice at home or in a studio with others.
The beauty of yoga and life is that the choice is ours. Yoga provides
us the freedom to practice it anywhere: outside, inside,
by ourselves or with others. And, it all begins with the breath.
Yoga begins with the relationship of the breath and body. We
clear our minds on the mat and nothing else matters nor does
it have to even exist. Only the here and now matter with our
body and breath. This form of meditation is a beautiful practice
synchronized with movements, certain “asanas” or poses that
have specific benefits, depending on what we need during that
moment. Yoga is a mental, physical and even for some, spiritual
exercise that provides balance for our habitual imbalances,
whether that imbalance is in our bodies or minds.
The beauty of yoga is that there are different kinds for different
people. The type of yoga that is most fitting at that moment
is the type that works for the individual. There is no right
or wrong answer. There is what is right now. We are blessed
being of this technological age where knowledge is literally
overflowing at our fingertips. With the touch of a button, all our
questions can be answered. However, with such over saturation
and access to knowledge, we can often get overwhelmed and
weighted down with all these external stimuli being thrown at
us. Which type of yoga is most fitting for us, for me, for you?
There is meditative, spiritual, physical, hot, Bikram, Iyengar,
Kundalini, power, restorative and many, many more. Thus, we
stop searching and go within. We go back to the breath. Let’s
keep it simple to keep us moving forward. Keeping it simple is
essential moving forward. "One breath at a time" is an inviting
and achievable place to start; it is a great motto to adapt so
that we can reach our goals and keep moving, keep living and
keep breathing. With the breath we remember that, although
it appears simple, the benefits greatly outweigh it’s simplicity.
Remember that breathing keeps us happy, lowers our stress,
focuses our mind, and energizes our body. It is an empowering
notion. So much can come from so little.
So this fall, sitting in front of the fire, we can gaze into the
golden embers, get lost in their glow and begin to focus solely
on our breath and body. As we cherish the relationship with our
mind, body and breath, everything else fades away and out of
existence. We can ignite life in our bodies, blood cells and brains
by a single breath. The only constant in life, that ever present
ebb and flow of air, we can begin to improve our relationship
with ourselves and those that are around us by beginning a journey
of mindful meditation. Exercising our brains and bodies,
we fall in love with the mindful meditation, our mind, our bodies
and ultimately ourselves. Thus, this fall we begin our fitness
journey and the rest of our lives with one breath at a time.