Creating Your Own Mindful Movement

Let’s Get Physical

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Mindfulness yoga on a beautiful fall day with flow yoga to follow. Photo: Stacy Peterson

Are you wanting a mental break from weekly stressors while incorporating the balance of exercise and mobility into your weekly routine? Engaging in weekly mindful movement might be just the ticket for you.

Mindful movement is the practice of performing exercise with awareness. When moving your body, the idea is to place focus on noticing and feeling what your body is doing and how it is moving. It’s all about the consciousness of your body.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, Wanderlust 108 came to RFK Stadium to host a meditation triathlon that consisted of running, yoga, and meditation. We started off the day with a 5K non-competitive run, walk, or move anyway you like best – such as running, walking, hopping or skipping – just moving and relishing. The goal was to move and complete the distance, being mindful of the movement at hand, truly being attentive to the way your body feels throughout the exercise.

Next, we transitioned into flow yoga, also called vinyasa yoga. This form of yoga incorporates poses that run smoothly together, embracing many different types of yoga where each movement is synchronized to a breath. Again, the focus was being mindful of the movements and what the body was feeling.

The final part of the meditation triathlon was an enlightened meditation. Most individuals at Wanderlust felt the meditation portion of the triathlon was the most challenging. “Since the mind sometimes has a challenging time being in the present, it would rather be thinking in the past or future. Enlightened meditation allows us to practice present time awareness and let go of our thoughts one breath at a time,” explained the meditation instructor. Using energy to be present daily allows us to be fully awake in our lives as we are training our minds and hearts to be more open.

The start of the Wanderlust 5K at RFK Stadium, Sept. 23, 2017. Photo: Stacy Peterson

At Wanderlust, participants learned about the four forms of meditation: sitting, standing, walking in a slow, repetitive manner, and lying down. No matter which form you prefer, the goal is to be in a present manner, bringing attention inward in the body and with the body.

“Through meditation, we can learn how to replace negative thought patterns with positive ones, as it’s the negative thoughts that have been shown to weigh us down,” stated the instructor. “The body should let go of any thoughts, allowing them to flow in and flow out. Try not to push any thoughts or sounds away, but instead be aware of them and let these be. The focus should be mostly on your breathing. The breath going in and out and allowing the heartbeat, sound, smell and taste flow.”

Two friends from out of town, Jayne and Stacey, attended Wanderlust to enjoy a weekend of girl time and movement. Jayne, a wife and mother of a three-year-old and a one-year-old, was excited to spend time de-stressing from her regular routine of work and tending to her family. Stacey, an ironman triathlete, was in her off-season and was thrilled to take a break from her weekly training schedule.

Nancy and Jessica live on Capitol Hill and were ecstatic to participate in the neighborhood event. “We walked over to RFK Stadium with yoga mats and water in hand,” explained Nancy. The group event was something they love the most. “Wanderlust has brought people together for a positive reason of movement without the competition,” stated Jessica.

If you missed the fall Wanderlust 108 event at RFK Stadium, no worries! You can craft your own mind, body, and spirit time by engaging in an individualized or small-group mini triathlon on your own by combining three activities – 5K, yoga, and meditation.

Or try mixing things up. The first part can be a bike ride, swim, strength training workout, or something of the sort. The second part can be a mobility, foam roller, or stretching routine combination. For the last portion, you can focus on a different form of meditation, such as transcendental meditation, heart rhythm meditation, qi gong, or loving kindness.

The beauty of creating your own mindfulness movement is that you can listen to your specific body needs on that given day and in that moment. Mindful movement doesn’t have to be all day. Even just 30 minutes of exercise followed by 15 minutes of stretching and five minutes of meditation can be beneficial – though aiming for 20 minutes of meditation will give you more bang for your buck.

For those who are not avid runners and walkers, maybe you have never completed a 5k before. It’s never too late to start. One 65-year-old Wanderlust attendee mentioned that this was her first 5K ever, and she’s hooked! She was thoroughly excited to continue her weekly training, especially as we transition into the colder months. “Often I find myself moving less in the winter. But this winter is going to be very different as I’m treating myself to quality warm winter exercise clothes that will keep me extra warm on those cooler days,” she stated.

For more information about an upcoming Wanderlust event visit https://www.wanderlust.com/events/. There are events not only in DC but throughout the world.

 

Stacy Peterson, MS human nutrition and functional medicine, CNS, CHHC, CSCS, is a functional nutritionist, holistic health, wellness, and strength and conditioning coach practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals of all ages on Capitol Hill. She provides an integrative approach, critical to everyone’s healthcare and performance team, helping individuals reach their health goals. For recipes, nutrition ideas, and exercise tips sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.accelerationsports.net. Connect with Stacy by email, stacy@accelerationsports.net, or by calling 805-704-7193 for a free 15-minute consultation to ask questions and discuss how she can help you achieve your digestion, overall health, and fitness goals.