How the Gym can be your Meditation
How the Gym can be the Best place to Meditate.
Yes, I can hear you from here… the gym and meditation how can you make that correlation? Well, I can and I will explain.
If you are a listener to podcasts and a follower of Entrepreneurs, Motivators and Thought Leaders then you would know that they all have something in common. Yes, a mindset and structure for self-care. By self-care I mean that they are so very focused and driven in their chosen field that to produce and continually strive for greatness, they need to replenish and look after not just their body but their mind.
To strive for the highest of the high in each of our lives we need to seek clarity and feel our life path reach out in front of us. Some seek this through traditional meditation. Most would deem traditional meditation to be time to be by oneself in a quiet place, either early morning or night and to reflect on your day to begin or to finish. Tim Ferris a favourite podcaster of mine likes to write down and journal the end of his day and to get out of his head what he calls his ‘monkey mind’ all the thoughts that can clog up your flow of creativity and clarity.
I have read several books on morning routines and meditation. One of my favourites is ‘the miracle morning’ by Hal Elrod . (click here to purchase via Book Depository).
I have tried over the years many forms of meditation to seek clarity and to quieten my very busy mind. For those of you who do know me, you will know that I am a person that is ‘always’ on the go and has numerous things on the go at once. Since leaving school I cannot recall a time when I haven’t had multiple jobs at once, where I was doing things that struck a chord in me and interested or excited me.
Once children came along my brain needed a lot more satisfaction and interaction. Your body changes and so always a health and fitness person I sought out the ‘sanctity’ of the gym where I could satisfy my health by exercising and my mind by feeling free.
You heard it ‘Feeling Free’ in the gym! I look back and I was first introduced to proper gym and exercise programs after I left school. So from the age of 18 I was well aware of what exercises I could do and what programs worked for my bodytype and patience level.
I say patience level as I am pretty much a ‘gym snob’ when I attend the gym. I ZONE OUT and place my earphones in and listen to my music and literally go into a zone of my time and my meditation. I don’t do classes nor personal trainers. I don’t want to speak to anyone. I will look around and chill and of course be social when there is a type of unwritten hand signals about the use of equipment, use of towels and a big bugbear the use of deodorant!
As I have gotten older and with about 28 years on and off of various but consistent gym commitment, work injuries, physiotheraphy, and rehabilitation, it has dawned on me what I need for my mind and my body.
THE GYM FOR ME IS MY MEDITATION
When we visit again the purpose of quietening one’s mind and going to a mental place of calm which aligns with your inner peace, then you really can do that anywhere and anytime. I find that exercising and meditation go hand in hand for me and my feeling of awakening, enlightenment and peace flow when I am in my ‘gym zone’. Either on my exercise mat and fit ball or with my resistance bands stretching my muscles listening and reflecting on my day, the movement and energy seem to release any build-up of frustration and anxiety in my mind.
The feeling of flow when I drink my protein shake and do my 25 lunges from the water cooler to the personal lockers feels as great to my mind as it does to my wobbly legs once I reach my bag.
What I have found recently though is the timing of my ‘gym meditation’. Over my many years of gym membership, I have trialed lots of morning, or middle of the day training. After having children, I found that when I was still married I would go at night time after the children were asleep. When I became a single mum I would go at nighttime on the week I didn’t have the children.
Now I have teenagers I look forward to after spending quality time with them away from their electronics (yeah good luck!) I get to go to the gym later at night.
For those of you that love the 24-hour gym’s around, I am a fan! The complex mix of people who go to the gym at some very awkward hours is amazing. The vibe though and the sanctuary that can be found in a place of exercise and commitment is truly amazing as the essence remains when the members are absent.
Now, this is what I mean about me being in my sanctuary and in my zone when there are not very many people in the gym or sometimes I am nearly the only one. I have the whole place to myself. The music on 24-hour rotation blaring and I still put on my own headphones and begin my journey into inner calm and guidance, clarity and reflection of the day, and the days ahead.
For me, it isn’t just about how the exercise makes my body feel and my lungs feel freer, but when I leave and get into my car and wind down the window and release that breath of ‘OMG I feel really good I am glad I went’.
Yes there are days that I feel yucky and sluggish and slow and people around me are sick and coughing and the gym should be the last thing on my mind. In the last 12 months, I have really made a conscious effort that this is MY LIFE and my chance to seek out freedom and joy as much as possible. Gym Meditation offers me a place that I am totally surrounded by enthusiasm, hard work, commitment, and joy showcasing what effort can return for health and vitality and further enhancement of joy in our lives.
As I look around a nearly empty gym environment I feel relief and look forward to placing down my yoga mat to shut my eyes and begin my immersion into exercise-induced mind calming. Strange as it may seem some thoughts can be transmitted out of your body through yoga and stretching and breathing exercises as you physically release any mental baggage. Music to me aligns with my favourite release and my ‘tunes’ assist my meditation strategy of calm and enjoyment. I am smiling as I sit here and type this from my home office with my UE Boom Bluetooth speaker, pink of course playing my favourite songs.
So when you think ‘meditation’ and how you can calm down your thoughts, your busy brain and get back into true alignment with who you really are deep inside then consider exercise and reflective thought at the same time.
The health benefits and enjoyment of relaxation and meditation together with physical movement is truly fantastic. I have truly found my ‘happy place’ and time of day to suit how I can ‘fit’ as much as I can into every day of the rest of my life..
So why not try you can too.