In modern life, working out has become yet another item on the massive daily to-do list—or one more stress-inducing colored block in your Tetris game of a Google Calendar. At TA, we don’t approach movement in those terms. Instead, it’s about honoring everyone’s primal right to move, and tapping into our most basic human instincts. The Tracy Anderson Method gives you the physical tools to make the most out of the workout, but we’re equally as passionate about sharing the mental tools as well.
When we begin a workout, warm-ups and cool-downs are expected. It’s important for our bodies to prepare for the more arduous moves, in order to get the most out of them without injury. The same goes for our minds as well. Easing your mind into the right state directly impacts what you can get out of a workout.
Before the Workout: The Importance of Intention
So, what steps can we take to move more mindfully? Research demonstrates clear intentions and goals are linked to “less anxiety, greater levels of confidence, enhanced concentration, greater satisfaction, and improved performance compared to outcome-focused goals.” With this in mind, here are some questions to guide your pre-workout moment of mindfulness:
- What is my body physically feeling?
- Is this physical sensation linked to a specific thought or emotion?
- Consider the thought or feeling that is on your mind. What is the intention behind it?
Here’s a set of sample answers:
- What is my body physically feeling? My chest feels shallow and my heart’s beating fast.
- Is this physical sensation linked to a specific thought or emotion? It’s related to stress around a recent failure at work.
- Consider the thought or feeling that is on your mind. What is the intention behind it? My ambition. I care about performing well, and realizing my aspirations.
Once you’ve determined your intention, you can let it drive your workout. Instead of physically clinging to stress, anger, or sadness, these questions focus on the positive forces fueling your movement, and strengthen the mind-body connection to prepare you for a meaningful workout.
During the Workout: Stepping into Your Body
One of the most common obstacles to a sustainable and effective movement practice is psychological hangups. If we’re not present in the moment, how can we build the bodily awareness necessary for results? This is especially true when it comes to targeted muscle strengthening, when it’s about constantly reeducating your muscles to perform new movements. If you’re not moving mindfully, you can either strain yourself, or have lackluster performance.
By clearing your mind before the workout and setting a clear intention, you’re giving yourself permission to be in the here and now. When both the mind and the body are present with one another, that’s when we truly tap into our humanity. Humans are programmed to be both cerebral and physical, so when we restore this natural equilibrium, that’s when we can process life’s many stressors from a grounded, healthy place.
After the Workout: Mindfulness Off the Mat
Recovery is not just a physical process—it applies to your mindfulness journey as well. Creating time and space to let yourself go, and allowing your body-mind connection to restore itself. While having a guided moment of mindfulness pre-workout can ground you in the present, post-workout is a great opportunity to let your body speak for itself.
Instead of trying to exert mental control over your body, take advantage of this post-workout feeling of liberation to empower your physical being. When you dedicate a moment to the bodily awareness you just created, you can harness that energy into the rest of your day. One pitfall many of us make is jumping from a restoring workout straight back into the same stressors, restrictive narratives, and stale mindsets. Simply taking a minute of mindfulness can redirect your entire day, free you from self-imposed limitations, and move you forward on your healing journey.
Join Tracy and our global community on Instagram for the first-ever TA Routine Reinvention Challenge: a 6-week challenge where we celebrate The Reinvention Issue of Tracy Anderson Magazine as our guide to rejuvenate the whole self—body, mind, and soul. Follow us @tracyandersononlinestudio on Instagram to get started.
Categorized under Wellness