Millions of people have known for thousands of years what science is proving; we can change our brain and improve our awareness through meditation. While we’re huge fans and practitioners of sitting meditation, we get that it doesn’t sit well for everyone. We’re frequently asked about more active ways to boost focus.
Like sitting meditation, physical activity inspires creative thought, encourages problem solving ability and supports overall wellbeing. Additionally, there are active pursuits that reward the wandering mind with immediate and unpleasant consequences (“keep your head or hospital bed”). For instance:
NO DEVICES: First thing first; ditch the mobile device. If it’s important for tunes or a fitness app, be sure to turn off the notifications. These undertakings will engage your mind and spank you severely when your attention wanders. That’s the whole point.
Trail Running: Flying down uneven, rocky trails requires ample focus since distractions can lead to an unpleasant trip. As an added bonus, trail running requires very little skill (baby we’re born to run) and not much in terms of fancy equipment. Running is a top choice for many leaders who want to stay focused on the present and spark creative insights.
Mountain Biking: Even people who text while driving will want to take a pass on mountain bike multitasking: the penalties for a wandering mind can be swift and severe. Roller coastering along the trail, managing speed, gears, balance and physical output is a great way to practice keeping the mind in its saddle.
Swimming: Leave the phone on shore and dive into a distraction free workout. Swimming efficiently means focusing on breathing and movement, anchoring us in the moment and rewarding us with a mouthful of water when our attention flags. Swimsuit, goggles, towel, maybe a swim cap, a little skill and away we go.
Yoga: So much has been said about Yoga’s ability to calm the mind, strengthen the body, lift the spirit and improve attention that we won’t get into it. As an added bonus, many Yoga experiences happen in classes where unplugging is mandatory. No one wants to interrupt Savasana with “marimba”.
There really is no substitute for sitting meditation. But, if improving your focus with an active pursuit sounds like your jam, try one of these methods. There are plenty more (surfing, climbing, skiing, boarding, kayaking); these are just simple places to start. Get in touch for more ideas or to share what works for you.