Jenna Hollenstein lives in New York City where she is a writer, nutritionist, and loyal Physique 57 client! In this guest post she delves into how Physique 57 has helped her live in the moment and appreciate life.
Three years ago, I started practicing meditation to help manage stress and deal with life’s struggles and uncertainty. Through meditation, I have learned to place my awareness on my breath so that my body and mind are synchronized. Practicing meditation has shown me that each moment of my life presents an opportunity to be mindful. When I started at Physique 57, I realized that my workouts also presented an opportunity to be mindful. Practicing mindfulness with Physique 57 has entailed learning to tolerate discomfort, returning my focus to the breath, noticing and responding to change, and simply lighten up. Let’s discuss each a bit further.
Tolerating discomfort: Like most people, I have a tendency to move away from pain. But there are benefits to learning to tolerate discomfort (A) because life is full of it and (B) because some good might even come from it. Physique 57 instructors teach us to go toward the burn, that if it isn’t challenging, we aren’t changing. When I took my first Physique 57 class, I didn’t think it was possible to do what I was being asked to do; the discomfort was too great. But as I took more classes, I learned to work toward the burn. Allowing myself to feel discomfort without automatically backing away has had major benefits: I’ve whittled my waistline, carved out my arms, and even tightened stubborn thigh and seat muscles.
Focusing on the breath: Even though Physique 57 instructors always reminded me to breathe, I often found myself almost holding my breath, especially when the class became very challenging. Not surprisingly, that’s when breathing was most important. During one memorable class, I decided to focus specifically on my breath and found I could push myself harder than ever before. Since then, focusing on the breath has become as essential to my workout as my grippy socks. Focusing on the breath also brought me fully into the present moment; by synchronizing body and mind, I took a break from my usual tendency of replaying past events or planning the future.
Noticing change: The sprint-fatigue-stretch-release pattern we follow at Physique 57 reassures me that even if I put in my greatest effort and am feeling maximum burn, it’s only for a brief time. As a result, I can experiment with how far to push myself. At the same time, every class is slightly different, and my body feels challenged. By staying present, I notice the moment-to-moment changes taking place in my body and respond to them – whether that means taking the heavier weights, going for that extra challenge, or adapting a move – to give my body the workout it needs.
Lighten up: The upbeat, encouraging, and humorous environment created by Physique 57 does more than make the classes enjoyable for me – I laugh, take risks, support my fellow Physique 57 devotees, and generally lighten up.
The benefits of mindfulness have extended beyond the meditation cushion and into the rest of my life. Practicing mindfulness with Physique 57 enhances my workout, allows me to challenge myself, and keeps me coming back for more.
What are some of your tips on living in the moment? Tell us in the comments below.