Meditation, like fitness, is a practice that comes in many different forms. Most meditations focus on conscious breathing, visualization, or mantras. Meditation is an effective way to improve your mental and physical well-being. Having a mood-boosting tool in your back pocket is especially important as winter makes the days shorter and colder — which can make it harder to get outside to exercise and can negatively impact your mood. Starting a regular meditation practice (and roping your family into doing it with you) can help your fitness routine, mental health, and ability to handle stress!

What does meditation have to do with fitness? 

Breathing is something we do all the time without thinking too much about it. For many of us, you may notice your breathing the most when exercising. Particularly during cardio workouts, the harder your cardiovascular system is working, the more quickly your lungs are pulling in oxygen. Depending on your fitness level and cardiovascular endurance, maintaining a steady breathing rate while exercising can be a challenge. 

While meditation comes in many forms, conscious breathing is a huge part of the meditative practice. The more you practice controlled, conscious breathing in your meditation practice, the more likely you are to experience an easier time regulating your breathing while doing other activities — from maintaining a good breathing pace while exercising to managing your stress through breathing in everyday life. Meditation can be a beneficial addition to your fitness routine and can improve the mood-boosting benefits exercise offers.

How can regular meditation help your family? 

If you’re like most families, your days are busy with work, school, and activities, which can feel overwhelming at times. Starting a family meditation practice is an easy way to spend quality time with your family while learning a skill that can be a positive influence on your whole house’s mood and mental health. 

How to get started with meditation:

  1. Find a comfortable, distraction-free space where your whole family can sit nearby one another. We recommend keeping that space and your mediation practice totally technology-free (unless you’re meditating with the help of an app or youtube video). Particularly for the technology-attached among us, if your phone, tablet, or computer is in the room, it can be challenging to keep your focus away from its buzzing and beeping. 
  2. As you begin a meditation practice, aim for 2-5 minute-long meditations. Any longer and you’re likely to lose focus and get frustrated with the process. Start off with short intervals and build up as your mediation practice continues.
  3. The easiest way to get started is with a simple breathing meditation you can do on your own or by finding a short, beginners mindfulness meditation online. To do a breathing meditation:
    1. Find a comfortable seat and set a timer so you’ll know when your five minute meditation is up. Close your eyes.
    2. Tune into your breath and notice how it’s moving in and out of your body. Where do you feel it? In your belly or chest as they expand? In your nose as you feel the cool air coming in? 
    3. Try to consciously slow your breathing down, focusing all your attention on the way your breath goes in and out. 
    4. If you get distracted, no problem! That means you’re meditating. Notice the distraction and then remind yourself that for now you’re only focusing on your breath. Tune back in and continue. 
    5. Continue until your timer rings. Try to fight the urge to open your eyes, check the clock, or make any noise aside from your breathing. The more you can tune into your breath, the better you’ll feel at the end of your meditation!

Meditation is often used by fitness fans who enjoy yoga or some martial arts practices where tuning into the body is key. But meditation isn’t limited to a yoga mat or a silent retreat. It’s something that you and your family can learn together to see real benefits in your day to day life. Like any new habit, it takes time to build, but doing it together can help you all stay accountable. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling zen. For more family fitness lifestyle tips, check out our Vigor Kids information.