Throughout High School, College and then post-college in New York City, I danced all the time. Hours and hours a day. Technique classes during the day, rehearsals and night, I put my body through the ringer. The dancing in and of itself was a huge emotional outlet for me, which made me come back to it every single day.
Fast forward to present day, my post-dancing body needs a different routine. I need a workout that not only feels good and smart, but a sutainable workout with SOUL.
Transitioning out of dance classes and into other forms of exercise hasn’t been the easiest for me, but I know that when I move my body and move it regularly, I’m SO much happier. My spirit is brighter, I have more energy, and things feel right in my world.
Whether Pilates is your preferred movement practice, or you like to hike, bike or run, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and fall of track. We get busy, we have an event, a big project coming up. “I don’t have time.” It can be easy to find excuses to get out of the healthy habits that are so great for us.
What if we worked out with intention, with an action plan and a recovery plan? That’s my goal for you today, to give you a step-by-step guide to maintaining a regular movement or workout practice that fills you up and keeps you coming back for more.
So here goes:
1. Schedule Your Workout Times
Every week, go into your calendar and schedule the times on your calendar that you’re committed to working out. Find a group class that works for you, plan to go on that hike, whatever you’d WANT to do, plan for it. Make the time. *Remember when you’re putting the times in your calendar, be sure to add in prep and recovery time. That’s typically an extra 15 minutes (5 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of recovery)
2. Set Your Intentions
How do you want your workout to make you FEEL? Before heading to the studio or stepping foot on the trail, think about what you want this workout to do for you. To help, think in terms of the scope of your day. For instance, personally, when I hike in the mornings, I want to feel energized for the rest of the day. When I practice Pilates in the evening, I want to feel refreshed, relaxed and grounded. Find a word or phrase that you can focus on.
3. Ground Yourself
Take 5-10 full deep breaths breathing into the front, sides and back of the body from your pelvis all the way up to the top of the skull. Do it seated or standing. If you like to stretch before your workout, focus on these deep breaths while you’re stretching.
4. Get Moving
Work it out!! Perform your chosen exercise for the day. Every now and again whie you’re moving, think of your intention. Just envision the word or the feeling of the words a few times while you’re working out.
This is often the most overlooked piece of the workout puzzle. This key element, if ignored could lead to massive injury and overall tension throughout your body. If you walk, hike or jog, give your body time to transition from intensity back into reality. Slow down and stretch. If you workout mostly with your lower body, stretching your hamstrings, calves and quads is a great place to start. If you did an upper body workout, stretch your chest, neck and arms.
6. Dedicate Your Workout To Someone or Something
I learned this technique from Chantill Lopez of SkillfulTeaching.com and I think it’s beautiful. Once you’ve finished your recovery time, dedicate your workout to someone or something in your life. “I dedicate this Pilates session to my healing hip.” “I dedicate this yoga practice to all who I may encounter today, may it benefit them just as much as it does me.”“I dedicate this hike to my children, may it give me more energy to nurture and love them.”
Click on the picture above and print it. Put it on your fridge, in your bathroom, some spot to help inspire and remind you of what a beautiful thing it is to move your body and do it with intention & soul.