For me the key hasn’t been stepping it up, it’s been finding balance.
My number one form of exercise is yoga. I need it to help me find center and calm down. I do yoga most days of the week and vary the routines. I used to only do vinyasa yoga (my mindset was sweat or what’s the point) but now I also do restorative classes and strength building classes. Sometimes, I put on pop hits and dance around my yoga room before I get on the mat, then my tunes change and Bob Dylan filters through my speakers as I start my practice.
Since the weather has improved, I’ve added cardio to the mix. I crave the outdoors after being cooped up over the winter, so I’ve moved my activity outside and I’m walking, biking, and swimming. I’m always more active in the spring and summer months because it’s so nice out and that gives me more energy.
For me, yoga and swimming are similar types of activity because they bring focus. When I do yoga I concentrate on counting my breath, and the actions of my body parts as I hold the poses. When I swim I count my strokes, swim in patterns and focus on the extension of my limbs. Both help me really tune out the chatter in my mind.
When I walk or bike, I let my mind wander. I need that too, it’s where I sort things out. I read an article recently that I’m not alone, many successful people like Steve Jobs and Einstein for instance, were known to take long walks when they were stumped and needed to work out problems or think things through.
Yoga emphasizes calming the mental chatter and learning how to tune out the outside world. Most of us are constantly overstimulated so tuning into our selves is a foreign concept and doesn’t come naturally. If this sounds like you, yoga may be just the prescription.
But, I also think paying attention to what is going on outside of us, like the birds chirping, the shape of the clouds, the colors of the trees, are important too. These are the things I notice when I walk. These details are often overlooked, we are too busy to take them in, and slowing down enough to let things take shape is equally as needed as learning to tune it all out. Both bring moments of peace and inspiration.
It’s the balance of the ability to focus and the ability to let my mind go that has me feeling like I’ve found my exercise sweet spot.
What type of exercise do you enjoy? Have you ever thought about how your exercise can support your energetically and emotionally like this?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!