Opdateret: 16. okt. 2018
What does health and well-being mean to you? Have you ever thought about how you define the two terms? Read more about the terms in this post and how you can incorporate them into your everyday life through mindful movement.
Words: Lotte Bregendahl Laursen
What does health and well-being mean to you? Have you ever thought about how you define the two terms? Very often, they're defined using physical external descriptions like eating healthy foods, exercising, having a good job and still finding time to your wonderful family. Basically doing it all. And yes, these things are truly important, but here's also why doing it all can be a con: If your definition of health and well-being means being up to your neck in stress hormones, over-training and living so fast you're composing mental e-mails during savasana, your morning run or your conversation with your 2-year old daughter, then what does it all really matter?
Your health and well-being starts from the inside. We all know that greens are good for your gut, but have you asked yourself what you're doing for your mind and the architecture of your mind? Let's start simple ... Let's start with breathing ... Looking up from your screen ... Checking in ...
Mindfulness and why it's so important
"Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”.
I'm pretty convinced this is not the first time you hear the word "mindful". But how exactly do you practice mindfulness?
Let me start by making something very clear: Mindfulness is not a technique. It's a lifelong love affair with life. It's a way of being in a wise relationship to experience, exactly as you find it. This means pleasant, unpleasant, and even the neutral stuff that you never bother to notice because it doesn't seem to have a big effect on you. Well, the truth is that it all has a big effect and that's exactly why a wise relationship is of great importance. Mindfulness can be defined as the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us. Have you ever experienced the feeling of being fully absorbed in something? Maybe an activity or action to such an extent you've completely lost track of time and everything else around you? The sensation of watching the waves roll in to the shore, of listening to rain hitting the roof - that's mindfulness.
Okay, so what does this have to do with Move Mindfully? Yin yoga and long savasanas are definitely not for everyone (even though you're missing out a bit), but here's the beauty of mindfulness: You can reach the state of tuned-in, present and engaged, through moving your body and your mind. Move Mindfully is designed to do just that.
While the fitness world rides the HIIT wave, I believe in someting different: Yes, high intensity interval training is great for torching calories in minimal time. However, if you're someone who's eternally short on time, you probably need mindful movement more than you need to workout like an elite athlete. And this is not just my personal opinion. This is also what science tells us: Overtraining is not good for you. Too much HIIT can lead to an increase in cortisol levels - cortisol being the stress hormone which, in excess, causes adrenal fatigue, insomnia, injury, damage to your immune system, and weight gain - the latter which almost seems ironical. Now, imagine what happens if you're already living a high-stress lifestyle? You need your exercise and daily activities to offset the stress, not add to it. Unfortunately, our stress response hasn't developed much during the last 2.5 million years and therefore our brains can't tell the difference between the stress of a deadline, 50 burpees, or a lion just in front of you. In your brain it's all stress, and it all means one thing: Pump the adrenaline and activate the stress hormones, please!
Move from where you are today, not where you were yesterday or where you want to be tomorrow.
"Mindful movement will keep you healthy from the inside, out. It'll create the balance you need in your everyday life to cope with the stressors that surround you. You'll move from your very own foundation, from exactly where you're at that specific day, in your mind as well as your body".
Allow me to add an important note: This is not a critique of high intensity interval training. For some people, this is definitely the right thing. For some people, leaving a HITT session creates a feeling of invigoration and freshness and if that's the case for you, you should definitely continue. But if HIIT leaves you feeling depleted, it might be time to reconsider the way you're moving your body and your mind.
Another important note: This is not an invitation to stop moving and swop exercise with netflix on the couch. Undertraining is just as unhealthy. Instead, this is an invitation to stop for a moment and reconsider whether you're engaging in movement that makes you feel reenergised, happy and balanced or movement that makes you feel depleted, unsatisfied and out of balance. If the latter is the case for you, I recommend you joining me next year in rediscovering the joy of moving through moving mindfully. In exercising to nourish, not punish your body. In working hard enough to sweat, but not enough to need a four hour nap for recovery. Because yes, exercise should be enjoyable. Mindful movement will keep you healthy from the inside, out. It'll create the balance you need in your everyday life to cope with the stressors that surround you. You'll move from your very own foundation, from exactly where you're at that specific day, in your mind as well as your body. You'll move with ease no matter your prior experience. You'll move mindfully.
Let's rediscover the joy of movement
Book your spot at the amazing Mindmove Retreat right here. Spaces are limited to make sure everyone feel seen and guided.
I can't wait to move with all of you lovely people. Physically as well as mentally.