By Janelle Morrison
The feel-good benefits of a sweaty workout aren’t exactly a secret! Let’s be honest, they’re a big reason you set the alarm before work to fit in a loop of your favourite running trail. They’re why you head over to spin class even after a long day’s work.
Exercise is the ultimate life-giving energy boost!
Happy endorphin neurotransmitters are released as you challenge yourself—reducing stress, increasing your self confidence and boosting your brainpower. Those few minutes after a good sweat have you feeling on top of the world!
Fast forward one hour later. Not only is the boost gone, you’re feeling more wiped than before. The short-term endorphin boost is gone and your energy is drained. You reach for the second or third cup of coffee.
Shouldn’t exercise be giving you life rather than taking it away? What’s missing?
One word. Breath.
Hold on. All you did was breathe while you were working out!
Think about it. Many of us are too focused on checking our distance per km, side-tracked by a problem at work or distracted by music pounding through headphones to think about something as mundane as our breath.
Perhaps it’s not so mundane. I invite you to consider this: “The mind follows the breath. The body follows the mind.”
What happens when you become aware of your strong, steady breath and let it guide and fuel your workout? Not only can you have your best workout ever, your body mind and spirit reap the benefits long after your workout is done as you’ve just re-fueled your body and your mind!
Try this yourself for your next workout. Here are three ways to use breath to fuel your workout and your life:
1. SET YOUR INTENTION
Your intention creates your reality. Want to remember to breathe throughout your workout? Take a few moments before you start. Close your eyes for thirty seconds. Create the intention to breathe fully, and with awareness, throughout your workout. Start by aligning the mind and breath and enjoy the ride.
2. BREATHE FROM YOUR BELLY
Take a moment now to try this. Place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your belly. Breathe naturally for a few breaths. Notice which hand is rising more. Is it your right or your left?
If you’re like most people, it’s your right, and you’re a chest-breather. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’ve simply forgotten how to breathe from your belly like you did when you were a baby, when you experienced life playfully and with ease. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that again? You can.
It might seem odd at first, even that you “can’t” do it. Keep going. Continue to practice breathing through your belly as you workout. Extend your tummy on the inhale and let it relax on the inhale. Notice the difference this makes.
3. LAY DOWN, CLOSE YOUR EYES AND RELAX
Ever been to a yoga class? The last posture ends with savasana, where participants lie down and do absolutely nothing. It’s considered the most important posture in yoga for a reason, that is, to integrate the work you’ve just done.
Try something different after your next workout.
Set a timer for five to ten minutes. Lie down on a mat, close your eyes, and give yourself permission to rest. Let go. Breathe.
Then go forward into the rest of your day clear, energized, balanced and grounded and see what impact that this on you—and those around you.
Next time you tie up your running shoes: Leave the pounding playlist at home. Look at your watch less often. Be with your breath instead.
Written by Janelle Morrison, a GameChanger, Consultant, Transformational Speaker and Life Quality Catalyst.
Racing as a professional Ironman distance triathlete, and overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds along the way after a near-fatal car accident, Janelle required a tool box of determination, courage and audacious commitment. Janelle knows what it takes to achieve the “impossible.” She also knows that results, finish lines and accolades don’t equate to self-worth, peace of mind or fulfillment.
Janelle believes that we all deserve a quality of life that lights us up from the inside out – and that we are all capable of achieving it. We ARE it. In this moment, and the moment after that. Check out her website:www.janellemorrison.com