Modern media and society increasingly stress the importance of movement and exercise, which can significantly contribute to improved health and greater relaxation. Despite the fact that most people move more today, most of our movement is not conscious. A human as a whole cannot be reduced only to a human body as it includes a person's mind and consciousness as well. Only when we exercise consciously, is it possible to actively influence all three aspects combining them into one harmonious whole.
Movement and exercise alone does not activate your entire body
Conscious movement is something totally different from just moving. When you exercise or workout, this represents a purely physical activity, which does not include the entire body, mind and conscience. Whilst exercising physically, your mind is constantly thinking about work, breakfast or how to achieve future rewards instead of being entirely present in the moment.
What is a conscious movement?
When you move consciously, you involve your entire being. This means that you are aware of yourself in relation to your physical positioning of the body, movement, respiration, muscle tension and muscle release. Through regular conscious movement, you learn to control both your body and our mind. A strong body, obtained through regular physical exercise without the same amount of effort into conscious thinking limits your ability to achieve health and vitality. Also, a highly developed intellectual mind in a weak and sick body is not able to take advantage of its potential.
Prerequisite for conscious movement
In order to move consciously, you must first eliminate any pain, illness or psychological disorders. Mind and body are not two separate entities. Imagine the mind as the computer and the body as a motor, very connected. By improving the state of the body, positive mental changes will be visible and vice versa.
Yoga asanas help you to achieve conscious movement
Using asanas, which in Sanskrit means a physical position in which you can keep relaxed for a long time, you practice conscious movement. After you are able to breathe deeply and relaxed for a longer duration of time while focusing your attention only on the physical situation of your body, this then positively influences the endocrine system, enables a more optimistic view of the world, clears your thoughts, increases performance, and brings about balance and harmony to other parts of the body such as: blood circulation, nervous system, respiratory system and digestive tract. When there is a weakened connection between mind and these body parts, health problems arise.
Finally, with the help of conscious movement, you automatically start breathing deeper. In this way, your thoughts calm down, the levels of stress reduce, your general well-being improves.
Practical Tips for Conscious Movement
1. Less is more
It is better to practice consciously and fully integrated even for a few minutes rather than over a lengthy period of time when your mind is elsewhere. Therefore, in order to remain healthy, a short practice time with full attention will have a greater impact. It is also important that you remain relaxed during the practice. Usually, when you are trying to perfect a certain posture, you start to contract your muscles and so instead of relaxing your body, you cause more tension.
2. Coordinated movement and breath
Your movements should be slow and controlled (as much as possible) and consistent with your breath. Thus when you exercise slowly and consciously, you enable and facilitate enhanced breathing with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs, having a positive impact on increased mental calmness.
3. Again and again divert attention back to the breath
If ever your thoughts start to escape during the practice, redirect your mind back to your breathing which will release your muscles and in turn calm your mind.
4. Take time for active rest
After a workout never forget to take time for relaxation. When, after an active practice, you take time to relax, your muscles get the chance to return to their original state, resulting in a large influx of oxidised blood flowing through your veins, replacing blood, which was full of toxins. In the time of relaxation, the effects of the practice reflect in your body and your inner organs regenerate themselves.
Conscious Movement at Work:
1. Sitting at the computer
Whilst sitting in front of your computer, become aware of how you sit and what your body tells you. Are your shoulders pressed to the neck and lifted? Are you relaxed? Where do you feel the tension? Even a simple twist of your spine to one side and then the other, whilst taking a deep breath and feeling how the oxygen that you breathe, travels through your blood and throughout your whole body, will result in a change in your body.
2. Your walk
Observe yourself whilst walking. Do you walk in a straight-ahead position, fast or slow, are your shoulders stooped, how tense are the muscles on your face? All these signs are an indicator of what is happening within and especially reflect your thought processes.