Switching to a slower, more gentle gear in my fitness regime is new to me. I was always a jogger and reached levels of calm (runner’s high) through my running routines. In my 30s and 40s, I ran for exercise – from 3-4 miles a few times a week to 10Ks, half-marathons and, eventually full marathons. Like many who run, I ended up with too many injuries and eventually had to give it up.
Then came my 50s when I was diagnosed with a health challenge that forced me into seeking gentler forms of exercise. I tried many: Pilates, tai chi, yoga, strength training, group cycling, and low-impact classes. More injuries sidelined me, but I kept searching.
This led me to restorative yoga, mindfulness and meditation. I have always wanted to make yoga part of my fitness regimen, but I found my lack of flexibility frustrating. I attended many yoga classes with increased anxiety and embarrassment. How hard could downward dog be? I eventually discovered restorative yoga – which uses a chair as part of your practice – and with that came mindfulness meditation.
In an article published by Huffington Post, Mindfulness Meditation Benefits, A Perspectives on Psychological Science study described mindfulness as “the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment.”
The article also cites a number of reasons why you might want to consider incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily life. Here are a few of them and my experiences:
My yoga and meditation coach, Avril James-Hurt, an experienced exercise physiologist with Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta explains how to begin a mindfulness and meditation practice in this video.
I have already seen health improvements as a result of this practice. Working mindfulness and meditation into my life will always be challenging – and I welcome it for it has truly been the start of a journey that brings well-being and peace.