Lifting Weights As A Form of Meditation

Meditation: You sit down, cross your legs, get real still just so you can think about what’s for dinner, am I right?

LoL So you get up, go get a snack (cause now you’re hungry) and go watch some TV.

We have this preconceived notion of “Meditation” because it’s popularly depicted as something monks do in temples, sitting cross legged, with a look of total peace on their faces.

And yes, that is a form of meditation but it isn’t the only form.

Any time you “zone out” doing something you love like painting or crafting, needle work, crochet, and knitting, wood work, or cabinetry…anything that you fall into, that absorbs you so that you’re 100% in its zone IS meditation.

Some meditations have the goal of silencing the mind (Zazen.)

Some meditations, like Vipassana meditation, are “focus meditations” which bring your awareness to your breath or another part of your body such that it becomes the primary focus of your concentration, and over time, the practice is intended to help you achieve clear insight.

But, not all meditations are still. Walking meditation can be performed along safe paths with your concentration centered on any primary object of your choice: prayer, your step, the bodily sensation of walking, ad infinitum. And if you’re Episcopalian, you’ve probably performed the walking meditation in a labyrinth.

Contemplation, Introspection, Prayer are all forms of meditation.

Amongst all the types of meditation, the one thing they all have in common is that they are designed to hone your skills of concentration.

And if there is ONE PLACE you should be concentrating, it’s in the gym. Matter of fact, if you’re not concentrating in the gym, you’re not gyming right.

Lack of concentration can be especially dangerous in the gym because lapses of concentration can result in injury and that’s bad for your workout, bruh.

So, how do you turn your workout into a meditation?

Before I begin any movement, I like to visualize myself performing the exercise in my mind.

I’m visualizing:

  • proper technique
  • how the muscle or muscle groups I’m working will move
  • proper breath control
  • Now that I’ve mentally prepped the movement I begin the exercise and as I move through each repetition of the movement I allow my focus to shift to the muscle itself. I feel the contraction and release, I’m visualizing the muscle fibers as they work, taking notice of any discomfort that might mean my technique needs adjustment.
  • I’m noticing my breath (am I breathing through the movement or holding my breath?)
  • Does that mean that I always perform the exercise correctly? Heck no! LoL and Jenny, our trainer, being ever watchful, will let me know if something needs to be adjusted.

    What this really all amounts to is being 100% present in my workouts. Sometimes I’m more present than other times. I can usually tell when I wasn’t as present as I should have been because invariably something will hurt that shouldn’t. Although, sometimes you can hurt yourself and still have been 100% present.

    None of this is to say that you can’t have fun. Matter of fact, one of the biggest reasons I workout now is BECAUSE it’s fun! And meditation isn’t about being serious all the time either. It’s about being present when it matters and it matters most when you have two 80 lb dumbbells over your noggin.

    However, meditation, in any form, is good for your over all health and well-being. It takes us out of our pain & problems. It helps us focus on being present. It helps quiet the mind. It helps bring clarity of mind. It helps, everything, period.

    You can read more about different types of meditation here.

    Om. Baby, Om,

    Joshua T.

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