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What is Mindfulness? And, What is Mindful Movement?

I was so upset when I saw a studio use the word "mindful movement" in a setting that was anything but. What is happening to the world? My husband often says, "the world is filled with the wrong kind of people". And, to my core I am the opposite, I want to yell, "no, the world is filled with good people we just need to be more mindful!!" So, what does that mean really? And how do you use that, when you are moving, in a workout, in a Yoga or Pilates session?

What is Mindfulness?

Here's good old Oxford Dictionary Definition:




noun: mindfulness

  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. "their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"

  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmlyacknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Here's good old APA (American Psychological Association) Definition:

Mindfulness is awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings. Mindfulness can help people avoid destructive or automatic habits and responses by learning to observe their thoughts, emotions, and other present-moment experiences without judging or reacting to them.

Mindfulness is used in several therapeutic interventions, including mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and mindfulness meditation.

Concentration, focus, awareness, senses, noting: ALL meditation techniques. Hello, Yoga.

Hello, Pilates.

Why? My six and two years olds favorite question... and my husbands. My first answer - to make the world a better place. And, also do like Nike and just do it.

Mindfulness has been quite the rage (lol) in recent years, catching on like wildfire with wellness influencers. Benefits to slowing down and taking pause leads to wonderful benefits like stress reduction, inflammation reduction, pain reduction, improved sleep, lowers blood pressure, improves mental health, promotes healing, etc. It's a key ingredient to a happy, calm, and healthy life.

Mindful Movement

So maybe you're like most, who can't sit still and meditate. It's hard. Heck yeah, it is! Or find time to journal. But, maybe you do carve out time to move your body.

If you are in the moment, feeling sensations in your body, aware of your breath, moving with your breath, you are mindfully moving.

If you are counting the seconds, and gripping to get through it, distracted, looking around the room to see who's tapped out, brushing off the voice that says, "I think you're going to rip something", can't breath, totally detached to your body, checking yourself out in the mirror, you injure yourself, I would argue you are not mindfully moving.

My husband loved CrossFit. Woke up at 5am, became a coach, the whole nine yards. He found it great for his wellbeing. And I agree! But, it's not in the mindful movement category. The dude still needed to sit with his thoughts and feelings.

A thoughtful Yoga and Pilates session can absolutely be medicine or like a great therapy session. But not because you avoided life for 50-90 minutes. Because, it can connect the mind to the body and self study how they are absolutely connected or how they can be disconnected. It can be magic. It can be truly transformative. It can be deeply healing.

Going back to like a CrossFit or fitness class, you can check out and feel great, look great, and it could be a gateway to heal the mind too. Same with Yoga and Pilates, it can connect some dots that lead to therapy. It's a journey. You have to be MINDFUL (another word, aware) to hear the messages though.

There are many ways to apply these mindful principles through your life: parenting, nature, spouses, friendships, work, everywhere. We are human, we will make mistakes, but with mindfulness we can be more aware, repair, and live more peacefully with ourselves and each other.

Be kind. Be well. Be more mindful.


My blog post on Benefits of Yoga

My blog post on Principals of Pilates

My blog post on Differences between Yoga and Pilates

Suggested Reading: books on Buddhism

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