I have lived in Vancouver for the past 4 years and needles to say, the fitness scene is one to be raved about; we are surrounded by options that fulfill our need to go fast or be still. With all these options and little time, I started to think, what would it look like if these two worlds collided, meditation and sweat dripping workouts? What if I viewed the sweatiest class not only as a way to express my body but also, my mind. How can I take the stillness that I practice, into the sweat dripping, music pumping, heart racing classes.
Think back to the way you entered your last class- was there a feeling of excitement, dread or a burst of energy? Did you greet the person ready to sweat beside you? What was it like for you to train beside your fellow sweat enthusiasts in the class? This was a self determined way of being. The body expressed your current mental state through: a smile, hug, high five, or maybe your shoulders were up to your ears. Now, think about a time when you were in the heat of the moment, aware of your surroundings, the sounds and how your body felt. Were you able to identify what the mind was telling you?
So, here is my secret-
I practice meditation in a traditional sense, on a bolster or lying down but it doesn’t have to stop there. I encourage myself to flex this mindfulness muscle in less obvious places. Before I walk into a class I remind myself, this is my invitation to fall awake and to soak in every moment and all the feelings that come in the next 60 minutes. Whether the practice is on a bolster, a bike or a trail, we are in the practice of carving out time to express gratitude to our body and mind by exercising it. I prompt myself to consciously choose to be awake and soak in the session because I want a piece of that magic.
My cues to tap into the moment before class-
1. Find a ritual- I always leave my water bottle empty and fill it up in the studio. As soon as the bottle is full, I have committed.
2. Go with a buddy- Sometimes I put myself second and will let my mind wander off to to-do lists but if I am there with a friend I notice that I tend to be more present.
3. Keep it light hearted and have fun- the more playful I am with trying out different things cued by the instructor or laugh at their jokes (I tend to seek out funny instructors) the easier it is to stay in the moment.
Meditation, as such, succulently blends: love, gratitude, and a deeper connection to self; needing no specific time and place for its ignition. As I step into these classes: whether it is a kettlebell class at Movement 108, reformer class at Lagree West or a sweat dripping spin class at Eastwood (a few of my personal favourites) I consciously choose to be present and soak in the experience, a form of self love.
Chrissy Abram is driven by authentic connection and managing creative projects that push the needle of possibility. She gets inspired by listening to top holistic health researchers and athletes that are passionate about their sport. You will find her leading athlete inspired projects for lululemon athletica’s innovation team, teaching restorative yoga and meditation around the city (Eastwood Meditate, lululemon SSC, UBC Varsity) and sharing personal experiences on her mindfulness blog. You can also connect with her on Instagram here and here.