Exercise and meditation are both great for mind and body. But despite meditation’s many benefits, it’s difficult for many of us to actually sit still and meditate. Does that mean you’ll never reap the benefits of this age-old practice? Not necessarily. Now, you can combine exercise and meditation together. It’s something called active meditation, and here’s how it works.
Contrary to popular belief, you can actually meditate while you exercise. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Just look at yoga. While it did start out as an ancient, spiritual practice, it’s now possible for anyone to practice yoga (and meditation for that matter) without a spiritual goal.
But how do you combine the two? How can you exercise and meditate at the same time? Ere are three simple ways to start active meditation:
When you exercise, focus on your body, You can begin at the top of your head and scan down to your feet, and observe how your body feels as you move through your workout. Or, you can quiet the mind in order to listen to the body. Which areas feel good? Tense? Sore? Bringing awareness to your physical experience is a form of meditation.
Being mindful of your breathing is another great way to combine meditation and exercise. Whether you’re doing an intense cardio workout, swimming, pilates or yoga, focus on how air moves through your body.
Body scans and breath work are two ways to be mindful while you exercise. But you can practice mindfulness in other ways, too. In fact, any time you quiet your mind in order to hone in on your physical movements, and how your body feels is an intentional way to be mindful, even while you’re working up a sweat.