Usually, our wonderful Pure Barre teachers will remind us at some point during class to “focus on the mind-body connection.” For the past weeks, I made it my practice to notice my mind-body connection, to explore why it is so important, and to go beyond just the obvious. There is so much juice in that one invitation!
The obvious and most tangible aspect is that when we focus our attention on the muscle that is working, we are working harder, more effectively, and get faster results. Research supports this truth, and that is why Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and exercise forms that are very detail oriented like Pure Barre, are considered mind-body exercises.
Digging deeper…what also happens when we connect our attention to the muscle that is working? What are we not focusing on? We are NOT paying attention to our problems, our lives, and all the other noises in our head. It is nearly impossible to dwell on life’s challenges or questions, when we are shaking it up at the barre. It takes all of our attention to the exercise. To this moment, right now, and right here. We walk out of class feeling more at ease, clearer, and more energized.
And it was not just the movement. It is due greatly to the fact that we took a break from listening to the stinking thinking.
Most everybody I know deals with fear and anxiety on a regular basis. Anxiety is not something that happens to us like catching a cold. It comes from what we spend our time, energy, and focus on. Many of us are focusing on the past-creating guilt, shame, or depression, or on the future – creating fear, distrust, and anxiety.
During Pure Barre, we strengthen our ‘focus muscle,’ getting less and less distracted.
We can take this habit from the barre out into our lives.
At any given moment, we can focus on one of 5 really strong mind-body connections: our five senses.I like to call this practice “pockets of peace,” or “moments of mindfulness.”
The thing is, we all glorify being busy, but it goes against who we really are, and what is really true. Our natural state is well-being, and being fully present. At the end of our lives, it won’t matter what we accomplished, how we looked, or whom we cared for.
It only matters if we paid attention and truly noticed the sweet taste of the kiss, the smell of spring air, the surge of inspiration carrying our dreams….
Taking moments of mindfulness is like coming home to our natural state.
It takes as much energy to worry about the future, as it does to practice presence. It allows us to live our life to the fullest; being fully there in all things we do.
All we need to live fully is within us right now.
To make this your new normal, attach pockets of peace to something you are already doing:
Next time you go to the bathroom, leave your phone behind, and connect to your feet on the ground. Breathe deeply, and focus all your attention on connecting to your feet.
When a commercial comes on, hit “mute,” and listen to all the sounds you can hear in that moment.
Or whenever you are eating, focus all your attention to the smell and taste of your food, instead of texting, reading, or watching TV at the same time…
Think of ways that you can make this idea your own.
Before we know it, we begin to notice when our shoulders tense up. And we can consciously relax them. We begin to notice that we are not actually hungry, but that we feel sad and need love. So instead of eating when not hungry, you let yourself cry instead, or you write in your journal…
The more attention we bring to the moment, and witness our mind and body, the more connected and clear we feel. Our body already guides us towards what is in the highest good.
Even without ever thinking about it, I am sure that many of you are experiencing these positive effects from Pure Barre, and its focus on the mind-body connection.
After doing over 350 PB classes, I find that the greatest gift it brings me, is an hour of pure presence. It is a reminder that being present is my natural state and feels best. And that I have access to the NOW 24/7 by what I focus on.
And going through a time of great heart ache and transition right now, this simple practice of mindfulness is saving my booty every day, and allowed me to experience great joy and peace, in the midst of great challenge.
I invite you to now expand this practice into your day-to-day life, using your five senses.
Smell life with 100% of your attention.
Feel your body moving with 100% focus, experience touch with every cell of your being.
Taste life’s pleasures with all you have.
See things, immerse yourself in what is right here.
And listen. Listen in conversations, listen to silence, and listen to music. Fully.
Without the need to do the next thing.
Slow down, and pay attention. That is the essence of mind-body-soul connection.
– Elli Boland is a life coach, yoga instructor, and an avid Pure Barre client in Charleston, SC. Elli believes in living on purpose, with purpose. Connect with her at elliboland.com