Today, a full-body workout means more than cardio, core and strength training. It’s also about improving the fitness of your clients’ minds.
Fitness classes that tone both the body and soul continue to grow in popularity. From the willpower&Grace method to Circuit of Change, classes that address clients’ physical conditioning while incorporating elements of meditation, self-awareness and mental discipline consistently pack the house. By getting a true full-body workout, busy clients have the convenience of squeezing in their cardio, increasing their strength and calming their minds in one session.
WHY THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION WORKS
The trend has caught on because people are increasingly interested in overall wellness, rather than working out to sculpt their bodies. Working toward achieving a hot body is unfulfilling to many who also value health, happiness and inspiration.
Engaging in exercise for weight loss or body shaping represents a focus on outcome, whereas emphasizing the mental and spiritual wellness has more to do with process. Focusing on a purely physical goal can put a cap on long-term adherence to any program. Once the pounds are off or the strength has been improved, clients can lose their motivation or become bored with an activity. Being mindful during exercise makes class a more positive experience and helps improve a client’s dedication to the workout.
All of this emphasis on peace of mind does not mean clients still don’t want to burn loads of calories and tone their muscles. Because clients are comfortable with the workouts they already know and love, like yours, transitioning to a more mindful routine can be easy for them. So, how can you introduce mindful practice into your kick-ass classes?
WHAT EXERCISES ARE MINDFUL?
People assume mindfulness can only be achieved through yoga practice, but there are many other activities that help clients relax, improve self-awareness and be more present in the moment. Tai chi, martial arts and guided meditation are some other options that will help clients pay attention to what their bodies are telling them while they feel the burn. To successfully mash up the mind and body workouts, the end result should have the following characteristics:
- The activity contains a self-reflective, present-moment and nonjudgmental physical awareness.
- Clients have perception of movement and spatial orientation.
- There is a focus on breathing and breath sounds.
- Attention is paid to anatomical alignment.
- The activity involves an awareness of the movement and flow of clients’ intrinsic energy.
HOW TO ZEN YOUR WORKOUTS
Creating a mind-body connection at your studio does not mean you have to start offering yoga hybrid classes. If you own a spin studio, asking clients to get off their bikes for downward dog is awkward and, most likely, impossible. But beginning the class with some Pranayama breathing could work. When you decide to design a more mindful class, you should start by researching some precedents. You’ll want to find spin studios in other towns that have successfully incorporated mindfulness into some of their classes to give you some workable ideas on where to start.
To create a meditative element to your class, you’ll need to put an emphasis on the breath. By guiding clients through slow, deep, purposeful breaths you will help prepare them to focus. It is also important to help you clients stay present in the moment. Encourage clients to think only about their goals for the class. Remind them to clear their heads about what is going on in their lives before they come to class and what they will deal with after class.
To really give clients a valuable mind-body class, connect with a local yoga or meditative exercise instructor in your area to learn more about other mindful disciplines. Partner to design a co-branded class that will not only give your clients the benefit of two experts, but will also give your new class a level of credibility. Alternatively, you can hire an instructor with both the experience and certifications to teach a mindful fitness class.