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Taming the Monkey Mind: Taking the Monkey to the Gym

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I only began consciously meditating within the last couple of years.  I have actually been practicing mindfulness much longer than that, however please keep that a secret from my monkey mind. I have used weight training as a tool for bringing my focus to the moment since I was a teenager. I lift heavy, more to direct my thoughts rather than to build my frame. Lifting was a way to force my mind to rest.  I could stay within my comfort zone of strength training and yet flirt with the exotic (to me at the time) world of meditation behind the scenes. When executing a compound movement with heavy weight, my mind could not wander; the monkey that normally scurried around the folds of my cortex was silenced under the burden.  Breath was forced into the smallest bronchi, as the body demanded extra oxygen. Each flexion of muscle was accompanied by a relaxation of mind, a perfect partnership of mind and body.

Zen Habits beautifully explores his experiences with the meditative power of iron.


So, if your monkey mind resists the yoga mat or the meditation pillow as mine sometimes does, try taking your monkey to the gym and shut him down with some heavy weights!  Just don’t tell him that he’s actually meditating:)

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