By Leziga Barikor
The benefits of mindfulness can be integrated into exercise especially the aerobic variety. Since the early 1990s there has been a rise in mindful exercise also known as mind-body exercise. There have been many studies on the benefits of mindfulness and physical exercise. By using aerobic exercises to cultivate mindfulness, people can reap both the physical and mental benefits in one.
5 key components
According to a 2005 study, there are five key criteria for a form of exercise to be considered mindful. These are evolving principles, but can serve as helpful guidelines when considering mindful exercises.
- Anatomic alignment
The key component to mindful exercise is that it cultivates a mindset of mindfulness. It needs to incorporate a present moment and nonjudgmental state of self-awareness. The process itself must be the center not the goal or exercise outcome.
The simple Google definition of this aspect is: “relating to stimuli that are produced and perceived within an organism, especially those connected with the position and movement of the body. ” For an exercise to be mindful it can’t be heavily strenuous. So low to moderate level muscular activity that allows for mental focus on the muscles and movement.
One of the most centering activities to cultivate mindfulness is breathing. Besides various breathing exercises, activities like yoga that emphasize breathing with movement are beneficial for cultivating mindfulness. Even in the term “aerobic” it is implied that these exercises involve or relate to breath.
This means the physical activity must foster greater spinal alignment or a specific movement pattern.
Exercises for mindfulness
There are a variety of exercises that can help cultivate mindfulness. Yoga might be well known, but there are many varieties to it as well as other options.
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