My goal as an instructor in every class is to provide an avenue for students to actively participate mentally and physically in their workouts, rather than to passively go through the motions. Physical exercise is often viewed as a chore, when it has the potential to be extremely gratifying and uplifting. One of the best ways I’ve found to cultivate this frame of mind is to encourage the act of setting an intention at the beginning of class. In doing this, the person is immediately mindful of the present moment and can begin to weigh what is meaningful and relevant in their lives.
There are many ways to go about setting an intention, but one of the methods that works best for me is to think about what I’ve been experiencing, enjoying, or stressing about in my own life. I look for themes and let that help guide my focus. For (probably the most conspicuous) example, work can be a big stressor for me. As many of you know, I am at the studio much of the day. Don’t get me wrong and let me be clear, I am living my dream and would not change what I do for the world, but it’s easy to get caught up in the little details of making the studio run smoothly. And so, if I’m feeling erratic, I may approach my workout with an intention of sharp focus and attention to my form. If I’ve had a less productive day than I wanted, I may set a measurable goal of reaching a specific number of watts on the bike. Even on the days when I experience extra positive feelings of creativity or contentment, I will set an intention of sustaining that positivity in my workout.
My challenge for you this week is to set an intention in each of your workouts, whether it’s in a spin class or in Outdoor Fit Camp. Fully “embrace the shake” in a barre class or do one entire Tabata set to completion without stopping. In my experience, the benefits are considerable, with feelings of purpose, direction, and centeredness being the frontrunners. And as always, if you are having trouble figuring out how to set your own intentions, let me or any one of our other Health & Wellness Specialists help you, as we realize this activity may not come naturally to everyone. Meanwhile, move with intention, ya’ll!