It appears the word consciousness is being tossed around quite a bit these days and rightfully so, as the world has been and is changing right before our very eyes. But in what context am I using the word consciousness? There are many definitions of consciousness, so let’s start by boiling it down to one simple word: awareness.
As a culture we are become more and more aware of the origin of what is going on around us. We are noticing the motives of our corporations, we are noticing the origin of our food supply, and we are noticing each other in a new way. Motive is a great indicator of Consciousness or awareness as the intent of anything you do is the fuel you put into it. If your motives towards your fellows is clean so is the outcome of those relationships.
You are in relationship with your body. So bringing consciousness into your fitness routine makes sense. As a matter of fact, because you are dealing with your body, which holds and conducts a great deal of energy, and everything is energy, it should be one of the main focuses of a deliberate use of awareness and concentration.
Ultimately Consciousness comes from a place other than your brain, but it starts there. To grow in consciousness you have to first stop and think “What am I doing? What am I really doing right now? And why?” And as far as your workout is concerned that is a very good question.
Let’s break the word consciousness down a bit further into three parts:
- Intention: What is your intention for your work out?
- Awareness: What exactly are you doing when you work out and why?
- Perception: How are you filtering the information we receive from the outside to ourselves?
Your intentions toward your work out are a big factor in the purity of the outcome. Let your intentions toward your body be as pure as possible. If your body is your vessel, it is your very own vehicle to allow you this human experience. It is in your best interest to treat your vehicle like the precious commodity it is. Viewing the body as a vehicle you would change the oil regularly, keep it clean inside and out, and take pride in having a smooth running engine so you can enjoy the luxury and joy of a beautiful ride. You would avoid slamming on the breaks at every stop sign, speeding down the freeway, or being careless when turning corners or going over speed bumps. Your body is no different. Stop and think about this: what kind of work out would you do to keep your body lubricated, fueled, and avoid unnecessary stress so that it doesn’t break down and is extremely useful in your day to day life?What kind of engine would you build and what kinds of parts would you use to build that engine?
Pointing you even further in the right direction, notice how you are breathing in all that you do but particularly when you work out. Your breath is a language. It is sending a very clear message to your body about your intentions toward it. Your breath should be monitored very carefully while exercising. The pattern and quality of your breath will tell you and your body your intentions towards it.
Awareness and Concentration are hand in hand. It takes concentration to build awareness. It is through concentration, through your neurotransmitters, that you build your connection to your muscles and other functions of your body like your respiration hence developing sensitivity and a growing awareness of how you feel. It is important to refine this part of yourself. When you treat your body in certain ways it is either dumbing down or refining your ability to feel yourself. I know if I drink alcohol or eat too much sugar, I feel groggy, less pure, and my thinking is clouded. If I eat live food and avoid alcohol I feel far more refined and alive. “You can’t think with a party in your stomach.”
Concentrate on every move you make during your work out! Be right here, right now using your movement as a meditation to help you build a strong and healthy connection with your body in every way. Taking deeper and deeper notice of your respiration, your structure, and the way those two interact with each other through rhythm, polishing the sound of your breath and the grace in which you move.
Intention and Awareness are going to change your perception. As you work on those two concepts, your perception will tag along. You will notice that you perceive your surrounding in a new way as inner creates the outer. Through concentration your awareness you will begin to grow in consciousness in your fitness routine, refining everything about yourself from the inside out.