Connie Cook | Guest Columnist
Welcome to what is now almost springtime.
For some, that hopefully means spring-cleaning, as in “out with the clutter.” For others, it means spring break, that amazing time of year from our youth that gave us the illusion of pure freedom as we delighted in a weeklong blur of beaches and booze.
These days, it’s a little different. Now we’re just happy to have time to sip a smoothie with the window rolled down while we dart from the dry cleaners to the bank on our lunch break.
Whatever your definition of the season, spring signifies rebirth and renewal. It’s a perfect time to embrace life and take a peek at where you are, making sure you are living up to your full potential by striving to be the best you can be every day.
We are all capable of so much more than we realize. Take some time to slow down, focus and get re-acquainted with yourself and how you live in this world. Evaluate where you are and invigorate yourself with new direction if you need it, including in your fitness routine.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle of our lives, we run though our workouts in a hurry and quickly check them off our to do lists. While a quick, vigorous workout might release enough endorphins to make you feel an immediate rush of accomplishment, by slowing down and focusing on your mind as well as your body, you can truly integrate your entire body into your workout and will become more mindful of your actions.
One way to calm your mind is with a guided meditation class. Meditation is a technique you can use at any time to still your mind and restore peace and harmony within yourself. It’s a great way to put things into perspective. You are what you think, so you should think as clearly and as positively as possible.
Another way to integrate your mind and body is through yoga. Yoga teaches you to focus on breathing while you hold poses, which creates an all-over calming effect. In yoga, you surrender to the pose by letting go of tension. Once you learn to use yoga-like breathing, stress and anxiety can be dissolved in any situation, from the dentist’s chair to being stuck in traffic.
Finally, consider taking a Tai Chi class. Tai Chi has a calming and meditative effect that makes it particularly helpful for reducing stress and anxiety. This traditional Chinese practice promotes peace and harmony in your mind by improving the flow of the internal energy throughout the whole body. It has a calming and meditative effect.
Take a journey of mindfulness this spring and reap the rewards of finding clarity in your life. Learn to find your Zen within, and you’ll be able to better cope with the curveballs spring may throw your way.
—Connie Cook is a fitness and athletic director with over 20 years experience in the fitness industry. After extensive experience in the top fitness and athletic clubs in Houston, Texas, she moved to San Diego to be the FIT San Diego Fitness Director as well as a teacher of several exercise classes. Certified in multiple national group fitness courses, she also appears regularly as the featured fitness correspondent for San Diego’s Fox 5 morning show.