“[M]indfulness is the awareness that arises when we pay attention to the present moment on purpose and without judgment.” – John Kabat-Zinn
Often when I think of mindfulness, I imagine a monk-like figure in a seated pose, eyes closed, and in a tranquil environment. A gym, more or less a Crossfit box, is the last place I imagined mindfulness being practiced. The practice of being mindful can provide incredible opportunities to not only train your mind, but also to train your body.
I often practice mindfulness techniques before WODs that look especially challenging. Be it the duration, skill, or a combination of both. For me, it serves as a “body scan” of sorts. I quick check-in on how I am feeling. It often looks or sounds like this:
The thoughts and feelings go on and on and in rapid succession. However, these thoughts are not necessarily bad. In fact, they are part of what motivates us and dictates our behaviors. Did you notice however some of the judgments in those statements? Particularly in the last statement.
In the process of mindfulness, we often uncover thoughts and feelings that can immobilize us or lead us to actions or behaviors that we would rather not want to do. For example, I might continue this thinking and decide to scale the workout. Not a terrible idea, but what if the weight is in fact manageable? It might lead me to cheat and shave off reps in order to finish earlier – ethically in CrossFit, a big no-no. There are a myriad of things that can happen.
Using mindfulness creates space to have these thoughts – without judgment. When I go down this path in my practice, I try to be curious about it. Maybe I’ll save that thought for later and wonder, “okay, I was one of the last ones to finish but I feel better for doing it – I wonder why my mind fixated on that?” Knowing where our mind automatically goes in times of stress hopefully allows us to be more accepting of these “thoughts” and learn to integrate them into our work.
The point is not necessarily to work on changing these thoughts. Rather, it is to accept them for what they are so we can be more accepting of ourselves.
Want to discuss more? Let me know, I'm available to discuss anytime at Power Grid.
- Coach Drew