Just Practice

As  a personal trainer I often admonish my clients to put their mind into their muscles when they engage in strength training activities. It is my fervent belief that we train our muscles best when we practice putting our mind on feeling what our muscles are doing throughout each exercise repetition.

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. Aristotle

When it comes to strength, muscles or otherwise, I believe our mind is our most potent, powerful agent and ally for change in our physical body and in our life. What we think  (believe) has the potential to germinate the seeds of well-being or dis-ease. With every thought, with every belief, we grow ourselves stronger, larger. It’s just that simple.  If you want to get better at anything, then your betterment is determinant upon your practice of doing.

Your brain reflects the way that you think throughout your life. You kind of shape it by your thoughts and your behaviors. If you play violin for eight hours a day, then the parts of the brain responsible for helping you to play the violin will get larger. If you’re thinking stressful thoughts for the whole day then those parts of the brain are going to get larger and other parts of the brain will deteriorate. Jo Marchant

Your brain is like a muscle that responds (grows) by the thoughts you put into it from your mind. Your mind is superior to your brain. Your mind (your soul, your personality, your will) feeds and directs your physical brain. Conscious and subconscious thoughts  bathe your brain with input (thought for food…food for thought) 24/7. Check your thought diet! Are you consciously or unconsciously feeding your brain junk food? Junk thoughts?

If you think you are in danger, your brain sets into motion your fight or flight response. Your breathing respirations increase as does your blood pressure; all systems are on high alert, ready for action. Conversely, if you think you are in safety, your parasympathetic pathways are engaged, and your body is calmed, your breathing is slower and deeper and your blood pressure returns to normal. Your brain needs your mind to direct its resources in accordance to your body’s needs. Your mind drives your body. Have you checked whose in charge lately?

The mind is willing, but the body is weak.

Whatever virtue, trait or ability you want to improve or enlarge in your life, you must only do one thing: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. This is so simple. This is why I am often fond of saying, “less is more”. It only takes one thought, one act of your will, to put into motion a healthier, happier life. You decide. So please do not be careless about what you think because it will effect what you practice.

 

Put Your Mind Where Your Muscle Is

If you want to gain power, strength or stamina from your exercise training, then try putting some mindfulness into your next exercise session. Whether you are training for strength or endurance, pay attention to what you are asking your muscles to do for you! Put your mind on the muscle you are currently working, make sure you focus your attention on your form during every repetition. Involve your mind in the exercise activity and require it to focus its understanding on feeling what the muscle is doing. Can you visualize the muscle lengthening and shortening with every repetition? Can you focus the energy of your breath on your working muscle(s). Do you perceive health and strength surging through your blood vessels as weakness is expelled with every exhalation? When you practice this kind of mindfulness during  exercise, you are effectively training not only your body, but also your mind; this is how your brain is made strong and how you increase mental discipline! With every mindful intention you make during your exercise session, you are making new neural connections between your mind and body and you are laying down new foundations for well-being; you are teaching yourself how to re-create vitality into your body every time you put your mind on your muscle!

Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training and some are not. George Sheehan