Use a breath-based mantra to fuel your workout

Inhale, exhale, repeat. The lovely autonomous nature of our breath is so simple, but it’s easily forgotten in any kind of stressful situation. Ya know, like your workout.

Sure, you’re able to get through your daily sweat session just fine, but what if you put your breath to work and used it to your advantage? With a little bit of mindfulness and a side of mantra, your workout will feel easier, more connected and more meaningful. Here’s how:

First, concentrate on your breath. Don’t over think it–just start to notice your breath pattern. Are you taking a longer inhale than exhale? Do you hold your breath before you exhale?

Then apply a word to your inhale and a word to your exhale. Think of the first word as something you’d like to take into your body or being. Think of the second word as something you’d like to expel from your body or being. The first word ends up being inherently positive and the second one is usually negative. (Good, let it go!) Here are some of my favorites–

  • Inhale strength, exhale weakness
  • Inhale confidence, exhale self doubt
  • Inhale peace, exhale fear
  • Inhale ease, exhale effort
  • Inhale power, exhale failure

Every short breath doesn’t necessarily have to be a repetition of these words, but rather keep the two juxtaposed words floating around in your mind as you pay attention to your breath pattern. Throughout your workout, give yourself some conscious deep breaths and say your inhale-exhale mantra silently.

Connect this to your workout even more by exhaling on the “hard” part. Every movement is made up of a contraction and a release with the contraction usually requiring more effort and attention. Your abs naturally engage as part of exhalation, so if you exhale on the challenging part you’ll pull your abs in more. Your form will be stronger and your core more stable. Pair this with your exhalation mantra and your body will be a steady base to cleanse itself of sh*t you don’t need.

Take a physical inventory after a session of inhaling something positive and exhaling something negative. With all those healing inhales and exhales, you’ll most likely find yourself in an empowered state with a little extra inner space.