How My Workout Routine Introduced Me to Mindfulness by Ludovic Chung Sao
Ask anyone in the street “Is physical exercise good for health?” Everyone or at least a vast majority will answer “yes”. Many people find the motivation to workout because they want to take care of their body. While it’s obvious to everyone that exercise is good for health, it’s not that obvious what meditation can bring.
There are many meditation types. Simply raising awareness during daily activities can be one form. That’s actually how it all started for me.
What Is Your Relationship With Physical Exercise?
When I started to workout every day, my goal was to be worthy of the body that I have been given. Back in the day, I used to compare myself to the life of our ancestors a few hundred thousand years ago. They were living in nature, surviving by running, swimming, and hunting. Nowadays, what is left of all that? Not much. Yet we have the capabilities to do so.
So, I started this strict workout. I saw it as a duty to honour my body and its wonderful capacities. Making it a duty helped me to not flinch for years. Because when you start to see your goal as your duty, you don’t even question it. Think about being a parent, for example. Parents don’t question whether or not to take care of their child, they just do it.
What about you? Do you consider working out a duty?
The Way I Talk To Myself
If like me, you’ve ever tried to maintain a healthy routine, you must have already heard an inner voice telling you: “It’s no big deal to skip training today. You can do it tomorrow.”
Your answer to this little voice is key. Follow its advice and indeed, you’re good to skip today’s session. However, if you treat your training as a duty and keep hammering this in your head as a mantra, I promise you won’t be able to hear the little voice again.
If you’re not familiar with the word “Mantra”, it’s a Sanskrit word that literally means mind protection. By reciting Mantras in loops, you are blocking outside distractions to get inside of your mind. The words recited in the mantras keep you focused on your goal.
Listening to my thoughts in the middle of my workout became very frequent. This little voice kept knocking at the door of my thoughts. Shifting my attention away from it was my spiritual practice.
The Start of My Meditation Journey
A few years later, I started to grow interest in meditation after reading a book called “The Power of Now” written by Eckart Tolle. If you want to know more about it, I already mentioned it in this post about productivity and meditation.
In short, this book introduces the basics of meditation and awareness. It explains spirituality in a logical way. After reading it, I became a regular meditation practitioner. I found so many similarities between the awareness I developed while working out and what is taught in this book.
Eventually, I became very mindful during my workout. And for many years, I was reciting my own mantra without realising it.
Meditation, raising awareness, and being mindful of your surroundings can be practised through daily activities. Mine was while working out, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case for everyone.
Next time you start doing something, pay attention to this little voice and decide whether you want to follow it or not.
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