Published on: 15-Feb-2019
I am an avid hiker. I don’t travel long distances to hike, the Sandia Mountains are located on the east side of Albuquerque and I can enjoy myriad trails year round. I know, many places don’t have mountains to hike it, but this isn’t about hiking per se, more about noticing your surroundings while getting a great all over workout. It’s about learning to focus on your surroundings, breathe deeply and learning to live in the moment, meditating without sitting.
Walking out the front door is easy. Put on a pair of shoes and go! I will attempt to talk about how to meditate while working out. As you start to walk notice your surroundings, each yard is different, people are walking their dogs, different cars go by, the ever changing cloud patterns… Walk at different speeds, find hills, include a jog once in awhile. Take time to think about what your body is doing. Focus on your breath. Try slow deep breaths through the nose, try faster deeper breaths, not too fast, through your mouth. As you settle into a pattern and focus on your breath your walk becomes meditative. Breathe in, breathe out… In time you become aware of every step, every breath, every blade of grass, every tree, every cloud.
Even a cardio workout at the gym can be meditative. You step onto the elliptical trainer, set your time, resistance and incline, and you start to move. Right, left, right, left, breathe deep, find a cadence. If you listen to music you can keep time with the beat. Try breathing in time with your feet, every right and left is one breath, or slow it down to every two or three revolutions. Follow the cadence of someone next to you while you look out the window and admire the clouds. The focus is on the breath.
As I hike I try to stay in the moment. I listen to each breath, hear each footstep as it lands on the ground and notice each twig I break as I look at the vegetation that has changed from green and lush to sparse and dry in the winter months, and back to green in the spring and summer I can hike the same trail ten times in three months and see something different each time. The world is amazing – pay attention to everything!
I teach my students and clients to be mindful and present. We work on breath, focus and mindfulness. Of course we work on strength, cardio, nutrition and general fitness too but our lifeline is our breath, we need to focus to be present and enjoy our life, and mindfulness is just plain good karma. It can take a lifetime to learn to master, but with daily practice we can achieve the things we want and enjoy every moment. Learning to meditate teaches us patience and calmness. This patience and calmness can help us in many aspects of our life.
You don’t need mountains to walk. Head out the front door and breathe in the day.
Author: Mindy Caplan ACSM-EP is a New Mexico-based Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Wellness/Lifestyle Coach, and Yoga Instructor.