Meditation and physical fitness is something that goes hand in hand. Even though you can build that well-toned body through routine workouts, meditation will surely add to your fitness pursuit in lots of ways.
This is because meditation cleanses your entire body system and instills discipline in you. Moreover, meditation is mental and spiritual healing while workout is physical. So, if you blend both of them, it can do wonders to you.
However, the biggest question is when should you meditate; before a workout or afterward?
Let me tell you at the onset that you should practice meditation after a workout. To dig into that, you need to understand what meditation is and what kind of meditation is apt post-workout.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a state of having a clear mind – a state of peace and tranquility. During meditation, you get closer to your spiritual self.
It is a practice which ameliorates anxiety and worry by bringing upon mindfulness, you start living in the moment rather than thinking about the poignant memories of the past and perils of the future that you unnecessarily imagine.
If you are someone who wants to start the meditation journey, then you should know some basic nuances of meditation like how it is done, when is the right time, and what kind of hand positions to use while meditating.
Post-workout meditation is good for physical and mental health, but it’s again important to identify the category of meditation that you should do post-workout.
What kind of meditation is best post-workout?
In a way, it all depends on your choice. You can opt to come home after a grueling workout session, and then take a bath and meditate.
If you prefer sitting at your gymnasium and spending some time there for meditation practice, then it is good too.
However, you may not have that much time to devote to meditation and workout; you can always concentrate on your breath while you are driving home or wherever you are heading after a workout session.
However, it is always preferable to meditate in a peaceful place without any disturbance.
You can try different postures to benefit different aspects of your body. What’s common in all types of meditation is showing dedication and making a conscious effort to concentrate.
Benefits of Post-Workout Meditation
There are lots of benefits of meditation and exercise that have been documented independently.
While meditation helps in mental aspects, body workout imbues physical fitness. When you merge both practices, meditation aids your physical fitness in many ways. It influences the way your body responds to exercise.
Listed below are ways through which meditation after a workout can be beneficial to your mind and body.
1. It relaxes your body post-exercise
Workout accelerates your body metabolism and releases endorphins, thereby exciting your nervous system which gives you an adrenaline rush.
Sometimes it happens that you feel exhausted after you workout. Meditation relaxes your body as much as it relaxes your mind.
2. Meditation after workout brings the fourth state of consciousness
When you meditate after a workout, you are trying to create balance in your mind by de-exciting the nervous system which is already in a state of exhilaration after the release of dopamine and endorphins.
The peace and tranquility you feel during meditation bring balance to your nervous system. Your mind retains composure and you start gaining mind and body consciousness again.
This is very beneficial if you are going to begin your work after exercise and meditation. The sense of mindfulness instilled by meditation hugely helps you focus and concentrate on your work.
3. Meditation can ameliorate the pain you feel during exercise
Mindfulness is all about living in the moment and not judging your circumstances.
You should practice mindfulness meditation whenever you exercise because when you are completely in the moment and your thoughts aren’t distracted anywhere, the pain you feel doesn’t get redirected from your body to the brain.
You tend to live in the moment and your subconscious mind considers it as the part of the fitness process. So, instead of thinking about the pain and feeling it, you continue your workout.
Quoting a quote from Nicolas Spark’s ‘Fault in Our Stars’ – “Pain demands to be felt”. Mindfulness disables the channel which makes you feel the pain.
You should note that this doesn’t mean that you should continue your workout even at the peak level of discomfort, same with meditation, you can always withdraw when you are not comfortable.
Remember that you are doing this for your body and mind. Unnecessarily pushing your limits and going through pain will defeat the purpose.
4. Post-workout meditation reduces cortisol
When giving stress to the body, workout produces a hormone called cortisol in your body. This hormone is very useful in protecting cells against stress and it also aids fat loss. On top of that, cortisol is a food for good mood.
However, if your body is inundated with cortisol, it starts perceiving that something is wrong. Subsequently, your thoughts get clouded.
You don’t see things in their uninflected form. Your immune system deteriorates and the body experiences more information. It begins to store abdominal fat.
Moreover, cortisol perceives all kinds of pain in the same way. It doesn’t matter if you have a minor accident on your way to work or you’re feeling the stress of meeting a deadline in your job, cortisol will perceive both the situations in the same way.
Looking at the bigger picture, it detriments how you deal with the situation. You seem to fall short of the composure needed to perceive your troubles. Subsequently, it affects the decisions you make to solve the problems.
Whenever you workout and the level of cortisol in your body is high, meditation can bring forth that sagacity to perceive and deal with the pains, no matter if it is physical or mental. In that way, post-workout meditation plays a vital role.
5. Post workout meditation makes you realize the importance of your workout
Many times, it happens that people discontinue their physical fitness pursuit because they don’t feel the change in them or they don’t find it interesting. This may happen with you too and there is nothing bad in it.
It’s something natural. You do something and don’t see the result in it; you obviously get discouraged and discontinue the practice.
However, if you meditate after a workout, you will be able to do a physical introspection wherein you can acknowledge and appreciate the positive changes happening due to the workout, making you realize how much beneficial exercise is to your body.
It will give you reasons why you should pursue the fitness journey. Moreover, during meditation, you gain body consciousness, which helps you realize that you are improving day by day.
Meditation after workout aids your fitness journey by being a catalyst that encourages the process of physical fitness transition.
How to do Post Workout Meditation?
You can do meditation after a workout in any posture or with any kind of hand position, but you need to follow some basic steps.
Here’s how you can do it:
- First of all, catch your breath before you meditate.
- Sit in a comfortable posture. You can also lie down because you just need to concentrate. Position hardly matter until unless you are doing a particular kind of meditation. However, the sitting position is preferable and effective.
- It is advisable to set a timer of 15 minutes so that you don’t worry about time.
- Now, close your eyes and try to feel everything in the surrounding – the touch of air, the sounds of vehicles or any other thing if any, birds chirping or even people talking.
- Now, let these sounds fade away and let yourself connect with your inner self.
- Once you stop listening to other sounds and feeling the surrounding then start taking deep breaths.
- Concentrate or focus on your breath.
- Make sure your mind doesn’t get distracted and wander.
- You need to concentrate on one breath at a time – deep inhale and exhale makes up one breath.
- You need to hold your breath for 2 seconds.
- After 2 seconds you need to exhale through the mouth.
- You need to repeat this pattern for 15 minutes until the alarm rings.
You can do meditation even before a workout. It will help you concentrate on your workout; notwithstanding the fact that post-workout has more benefits.
One more thing you need to ensure is that you don’t push yourself. If you are not able to concentrate, you can always withdraw.
Moreover, once you get accustomed to it, you can gradually increase the number of minutes for breathing meditation.
Meditation after a workout is the best option to relax your body and get back to the normal state again. It instills a soothing effect on your mind and body after an arduous training session.
Post-workout meditation is not an imperative, but you should give it a try as the blend of physical and mental exercise will be highly advantageous to you.
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.