Once a week we lead a class for the Phoenix. They’re a recovery and sobriety group providing it’s members with a physical outlet, partnering with gyms around DFW and the nation. It’s my favorite coaching hour of the week and extremely fulfilling for me. Coming from a family of addiction and knowing a few of the impulses myself it means a lot to give back and support this community. Check out their website here > https://thephoenix.org/
Addiction though is a strange thing. It can pop up anywhere and everywhere, including exercise. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’ve been in the trap of thinking I have to workout everyday. Never rest. I HAVE to hit it hard everyday. This is usually to battle mental demons and I totally get it but like everything there are downsides. It’s easy to get burnt out or even push to adrenal fatigue. Doing this may push you to an injury and now we can’t workout. How do we battle these demons?
The battle against mental illness is never-ending and you’d better have contingency plans. I’ve run myself into the ground on more than one occasion and then left myself unable to workout. Now I had deal with my demons while they have an upper hand. Eventually it hit me that I needed more tools to fight them off, enter breathing.
Breathing with a New Mindset
I view exercise as a way to manipulate physiology. Basically I want to either change my headspace or get completely out of my head and into my body. While injuries can keep me from being able to exercise, I can always breathe.
I believe exercise is a powerful form of meditation but I also believe that you first have to meditate on it’s own to understand what it is before applying it to exercise. How does one do this?
Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, clear your mind, breathe for 4 seconds in, hold for 7, exhale for 8. Focus on feeling your breath and counting the seconds. If you notice other thoughts coming up or you are daydreaming, reset your brain back to your breathe and keep going. In the beginning you will be shocked at how terrible you are at staying focused on only your breathe but eventually you will get better. When you get better you can now use meditation to focus on a certain topic – when you realize you are thinking of something else go back to your breathe and then back to your topic.
If you wait until an injury this is much harder to adopt. I would suggest practicing this skill until it feels natural and then working it on your rest days. On Thursday we will be releasing a blog with 4 Easy Breathing techniques to get you started!
Until then, check out our class schedule page to see how we can fit in to your routine!