Mindfulness has gained in popularity, and for good reason. It is, in essence, such a simple thing, but can have such profound effects.
Practicing mindfulness is simply about paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judging it. It is that simple. You don’t need any equipment, or to sit in a particular way or even be in a quiet area – although at first, sitting in a quiet area, with your eyes closed, concentrating on paying attention to your breath is a good way to start practicing. It is important to note that you are not trying to ‘achieve’ anything, you are just ‘noticing’ it.
Next time you are training, be it in the gym, on your bike or out on a run, just take a moment to start noticing your surroundings. Ask yourself what you can see, hear, smell, and feel. Take them one by one, and don’t rush. Your mind will undoubtedly wander – it’s what minds do! When it does, don’t judge it, just notice it and bring your thoughts back to one of your senses. It doesn’t matter if you find you are having to bring your mind back to the present more often than not. That is the practice.
If we bring mindfulness into our training it can help us to be more aware of our bodies and how we are training. How is my breathing? How do my legs feel? Bringing awareness to our training can help us notice signs of stress, or aches sooner, which helps us deal with them more efficiently.
So, next time you train, just notice (without judgment), are you being ‘mind-full’ or ‘mindful’?