Mindfulness and Movement

Practicing mindful awareness and being non-judgmental. 
It’s not our challenges that bring us discomfort, it’s our relationship to the thought and experience of that challenge. Knowing that isn’t enough to make it change. In fact, researchers at Yale have coined the myth that ‘knowing is half the battle’ as the ‘G.I. Joe Fallacy’. Knowing is not half the battle. We must move beyond the awareness of our challenges, to gaining the skills needed and then practice at those skills to rise above discomforts and challenges.


Let’s take an approach that removes the perception that our challenge is good or bad.

Bringing mindfulness to our movements in class by practicing non-judgement in the discomforts we feel during our physical challenges can make it a positive habit in other areas of life. For example, this past week we began working on split stance lunges in barre. The invitation, or ‘goal’ is to do the sequence with our back knee just a couple inches from the floor. Halfway through the first-round I said to myself, ‘oh no, why did I do this? It’s really hard!’ For some reason I resist this type of discomfort.


How do we practice non-judgement during this challenge?

Even though it burns, even though it’s uncomfortable, can I still stay low? There’s no good or bad about it. Just a yes or no. For me, there is a point where I can say yes, and a point where it’s an absolute no. The goal is to maintain a low range of motion for all 3 sets. I find, that when my mind becomes consumed by the discomfort – that’s when I back off. Sometimes this is a good thing to protect my knee from an injury, sometimes this is just a habit of stopping when it’s uncomfortable. Practicing non-judgement in the discomfort will enable me to perform the movement, by doing it at the intended range of motion for a little longer then I would have previously liked. Thus, my body will get stronger and more efficient, bringing me closer to my goal.


On the other side, if there’s a moment where the pain it too great, say my muscles are reaching their failure point, that’s ok too. I often hear people think ‘they are out of shape’ or ‘not strong enough’ if they need to take a break. NOT TRUE! When we mentally or emotionally resist what we cannot do, that energy can hold us back from actions to progress. Practicing non-judgment when you can’t perform the movement is a great way to accept where you are. If you accept what your body can and cannot do right now, it’s easier to take next steps toward your goal.


How does this increase our experience of body & life positivity?

When we resist our experience, what our bodies can and can’t do, that decreases our feelings about ourselves. When we think non-judgmentally and accept what we can and cannot do in the moment, that increases our positive feelings about our body.


In my social media post with last week’s newsletter, I shared that procrastination is a habit I would like to overcome. Things like organizing, or meeting deadlines. There is a minor resistance that builds into a bad habit of the procrastination cycle which then leads to feelings of being mad at myself for procrastinating. This is where the skill of being non-judgmental can help. While I practice the skill of non-judgment with my physical challenges in class, that good habit can flood over to the places I’m overly hard on myself.

How can applying this in your next workout empower you?