We speak a lot in our blog posts about how CrossFit builds strength, endurance, speed and flexibility. We also speak of the strength it builds in a mental capacity. But this week, we are going to talk about mindfulness.
This doesn’t mean we are going all Namaste on you – though yoga is a great tool to use in becoming mindful. Mindfulness is not necessarily meditation either. Mindfulness is taking note of the now. Paying attention to the present moment you are in and becoming very conscious of your environment. We often get so caught up with where we have to be, what we’ve done and what we should be doing that things can become overwhelming. Practising mindfulness, even for just 5-10 minutes a day, can help you to handle the stressful situations that life throws at us.
Meditation is the art of taking mindfulness to the next level. It requires practice and there are now many apps (ironically) which can assist you and guide you through various forms of meditation. You need to set aside specific time to meditate properly. If you don’t think you have the time, or the patience, try these other ways of practising mindfulness…
- Go through the motions
Pay attention to an everyday task that you would perform at an almost subconscious level – like brushing your teeth. Concentrate on the motion of your hand, how the bristles feel on your teeth, the smell of your toothpaste. Take note of your breathing – the rise and fall of your chest. Notice how grounded your feet feel holding the weight of your body. Simply concentrating on each step and how you react is practising mindfulness. Focussing on the NOW can help you prevent being caught up in other thoughts that may threaten to overwhelm. Try it – make a cup of tea, tie your shoes, do the dishes! And concentrate on each step you perform in the task. Mindfulness!
- Write a thank-you list
There is much to be thankful for in life, including life itself! We all have many things we appreciate in our lives, but when do we take the chance to express them? Think of all the people who help you and love you, the fact that you may have limitations but can still use your limbs, your eyes or your voice. That annoying little word – gratitude – is one which we should all take time to use. Being thankful helps us to be mindful.
Eat? Well I do that every day, you might say. But how about choosing a meal where you sit and focus solely on each morsel which enters your mouth. Pay attention to every time your mouth opens and closes and picture the food travelling into your stomach after you swallow it. Eating is a privilege that most of us take for granted. Eating healthy, nutritious food will refuel your body and prepare you for the day ahead.
The beach is a great place for this – but so is your local shopping centre! Just sitting and observing the world around you without judgement brings you to the present moment. Watch the sand fall through your fingers, listen to the waves as they reach the shore. Pay attention to your breathing and the warmth of the sun. it’s no wonder how many of us feel connected to the ocean – it almost forces us to be mindful, every time we are there.
These are some easy ways in which we can practise being mindful. There’s also another way….
Training. Training can be mindful time as well.
And that’s what we want for the members of CrossFit 4504. We want our crew to come in, leave their worries at the door and focus on what’s in front of them for the next hour. The feel of the barbell in their hands. The weight of their body resting in the soles of their feet when they’re at the bottom of a squat. We want them to notice the breath that flows in and out of them as they strain to make a lift or finish a WOD. Laying on the floor afterwards, muscles pulsing with blood and exertion, sweat dripping from their pores, endorphins coursing through their bodies. We want our members to enjoy this moment. Take great fucking pleasure from it in fact. Because it means they’re alive! Something we want them to experience and appreciate every day.
We want our members to believe in themselves when they walk through our doors – with the belief of a community right behind them. They are happy to see each other – supporting one another in striving to lift to their own blend of greatness.
Sure, some things don’t work out – well, sometimes LOTS of things don’t work out! But by becoming mindful of the present moment, our members can reassure themselves that they are here. That they are loved. That they have made it this far in this life that constantly throws surprises at us. That they appreciate finding something that will help them experience these moments more easily.
This is why our community is THE MOST important aspect of our CrossFit box. Sure, our coaches are important and highly valued. So is our equipment and facilities.
But the community?
It’s what we appreciate the most. We want people who are supportive, understanding, encouraging. We want people who give it their all, no matter what their level of skill is. People who inspire and perspire! We want people who treasure the time they spend in each class they attend. Who celebrate others’ achievements and love to be proud of their own. We want people who like to have a laugh, leave nothing in the tank, who understand the value of a hug or a friendly slap on the back. People who hold out their hand to be helped off the floor – and who are met by a dozen more who are wanting to help.
These are the people we want in our community – and we are so thankful that we already have them. So many of them!! They help each other practice mindfulness by enjoying the present moment. Celebrating and commiserating with one another, but paying attention to what is happening in the time they spend in class.
Mindfulness can seem impossible and overwhelming to achieve. But it doesn’t have to be. Use your every day tasks to practice being mindful. Train in a mindful fashion. Appreciate the now. The present is a gift – and it’s the only time to make the most of what you are doing…NOW.