How meditation can improve your fitness routine: Interview with Linda Griffith

By: Carla Ricalis

In this week’s blog post, we talk to Studio3 Yoga instructor Linda Griffith who shares some insights into how meditation can help improve your weekly fitness routine.

Carla: How can meditating help me with my regular fitness routine?

Linda: Like any routine, sticking to it consistently is empowering. Anything done with regularity reinforces the discipline we need to keep moving, quite literally, forward.

Adding a meditative component to your lifestyle is another way to strengthen your resolve to stick to whatever fitness routine you’re already doing or hoping to follow.

The art of paying attention is key in meditation and any improvement in that area can only enhance every activity. It is a skill to be practiced again and again. An exercise like any other.

Using a variety of breathing techniques when meditating enhances lung capacity and helps us link the mind with the breath and the body. The more involvement on a mental and physical level, the more likely one is to be fully engaged, immersed and objective about the activity and the results. Every fitness routine can benefit from that type of self awareness and level of attention.

Carla: Can I meditate while I move? For example, can I meditate and walk or ride my bike?

Linda: Meditation is as individual as a fingerprint, and meditation in motion is just as effective as being still.

Many people have a fitness routine in part because of the meditative nature of their chosen activity without necessarily realizing that the movement is a type of ‘psychological break’. If you’re paying attention, even for small periods of time, focusing intently on the movement (to the exclusion of other distractions) whether it’s walking, swimming, biking or running, it is a form of meditation and a beneficial one at that.

Carla: Is it worth meditating for a short period of time, say 5 minutes? And do I have to do it every day to find benefit?

Linda: It’s always worth it. Something is better than nothing and you have to start somewhere.

Realistically, it is often more attainable to start small, with short periods of time and a staggered schedule so that you aren’t swamped by the intensity of a daily practice and a specific length of time.

Far more important is to try for a regular time so that it becomes a pattern that fits into an invariably busy life. Taking the time-out becomes a discipline you can slot into your schedule.

This isn’t to say you can’t be flexible and shift and change. But for the vast majority of people, it’s like brushing their teeth; if they set aside more or less a specific time, they’re likely to stick to it.

As for frequency, too much too soon can work against you. It has been my experience that once a ‘regular’ practice gets going, and it becomes something you enjoy more than a task you ‘must do’, the duration and frequency will follow.

Linda is offering a 4-week Meditation Series on Tuesdays at 5:30pm beginning May 11th. Come and explore what taking a small break can do and learn the tools to add meditation into your schedule. She has been practicing yoga for 18 years, teaching for 10 and loves it when her students achieve success in their own practice..