Bohemians are known to be free people. You may wonder how such race, heavily discriminated against by society, even persecuted, was symbolized by freedom. This dark history has always been part of the bohemians’ narrative, and yet, they still retained their title as “free people.”
After writing a number of blog posts on bohemianism, I finally came to understand how freedom meant in the context of boho. Rather than freedom in society, they were free in mind and soul instead. They were free of material obsession through living for what they consider life’s greater pursuits—relationships, adventure, and a deeper understanding of the world.
In a fast-paced world ran by figures, deadlines, and conventions, we may need a little boho in our soul now and then. A sound mind, a leveled soul, and a healthy heart are in fact, very important life ingredients in finding happiness (and keeping sane) in such a bustling world like ours.
To most of us, leaving everything behind to pursue greater things in life, just like the bohemians, may not be a practical option. However, the bohemian lifestyle is something you can practice in bits. Especially focusing on achieving a sound mind, leveled soul, and healthy heart, this blog will be on the topic of boho fitness exercise. We will especially be closing in on relaxation-specific, low-impact exercises such as yoga, pilates, and tai chi. All these three emphasize breathing techniques, meditation, and calming body rhythms.
How do you meditate?
Meditation involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing.
The two aspects “sitting quietly” and “focusing on your breathing” may sound simple and straightforward, but there is actually more technique, patience, and practice involved to do meditation right.
Studies show that the mind tends to resist when commanded to do nothing. In the silence of one’s thoughts, a little whisper can be heard “remember to submit the report on Monday morning”. Yes, the mind easily gets caught up in life’s inevitable priorities, and this is part of the challenge of meditating. Learning to calm the mind is a fundamental part of the practice. This may also require a huge amount of patience.
Buddhists consider “meditation” as a general term housing a lot of other specific meditation types. Mindfulness meditation and concentration meditation, are some of these meditation types.
For beginners, however, here are a few tips:
- Sit comfortably. You can choose to lie down but make sure this does not make you sleepy.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe normally. Do not attempt to control the pace by which you breathe as this will only distract you. Simply breathe as you normally would.
- Focus your attention on your breathing. Pay attention to how your body moves with every breath in and out.
Experts emphasize that beginners are expected to have short meditation durations and this is entirely normal. Once you get into the routine of meditating regularly, add in more minutes, up until you reach a longer period duration.
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What are the benefits of meditation?
Meditation has countless benefits that encompass not only one’s physical but mental health as well.
Medical experts have acknowledged the health wonders brought by the benefits of practicing meditation. Here are some of the said benefits:
- Benefits for your nervous system – The practice of meditation is linked to improved blood circulation, lower blood pressure, and a relaxed heart (literally). The controlled breathing technique and relaxed state of the body during meditation slow down the nervous system to a restful level. There is less strain on the heart and less tension on the blood vessels.
- Benefits for your mental health – Meditation slows the body down into a restful state, as explained previously. As a result, the body’s relaxation response is tapped and activated, and the body’s stress levels are minimized. At best, this relaxation response helps bring the body to an equilibrium, where both the body and the mind share the same state of deep rest. Lowered stress levels help improve one’s mood and focus, lengthen one’s attention span, decrease one’s chances of developing stress-triggered psychological disorders, and enhance one’s quality of sleep.
How do you practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness is best cultivated through meditation.
Mindfulness is all about directing your mind’s focus on the present moment and embracing what is, without judgement. “Being in the moment” is another way I like phrasing mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness whilst in meditation begins similarly with any type of mediation routine. One has to sit comfortably, breathe easily and focus on how your body moves along with every inhale and exhale of your breath. Then, let your mind wander. Random thoughts are expected to enter your mind. No judgement. Let these thoughts come, and then let them go. Return your focus to your breath. Be present, be in the now.
Try and try again. This will surely take some time to practice. It is not an easy feat to gain control over your thoughts, whether good or bad. This whole process will take a lot of patience, commitment, and self-acceptance.
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How to choose a Yoga style to fit your intention?
Yoga expert Meagan McCrary once wrote that Yoga is the practice of intention. One must first identify their “why” to doing Yoga, only then it will be easier to choose a Yoga style.
There are a number of ways to practice Yoga. With all these options and choices, it would be best to align your practice to your “intention” or purpose for doing Yoga. Your intention may be anything you wish to cultivate through doing Yoga. Whether it be something abstract such as self-affirmation or something more measurable such as good health and improved flexibility, is totally up to you.
Here are some recommendations by Meagan McCrary, according to what she considers the most common intentions when it comes to practicing Yoga:
- Iyengar Yoga to work on improve d stability and mobility
- Integral Yoga to be more centered
- Kripalu Yoga to develop self-acceptance
- Ashtanga-Vinyasa Yoga to tone and strengthen the body
- Jivamukti Yoga to explore spirituality
What kind of workout is Pilates?
Pilates is a low-impact workout that emphasizes correct posture alignment, flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. It focuses greatly on core strength.
Joseph Pilates was the person responsible for developing this fitness system. He believed that the human body and mind were linked and that it was important to strengthen both in order to achieve overall wellness. Most Pilates routines are based on these nine principles:
- Postural alignment
Which is better, Yoga or Pilates?
Yoga and Pilates are quite similar in terms of being low impact exercises that use bodyweight resistance. Depending on your exercise goals, either one of Yoga and Pilates may be better for you.
Here are some reasons to choose Pilates over Yoga:
- When recovering from injury – Joseph Pilates originally structured his routine for rehabilitation. Despite Pilates variations today, it still focuses on rehabilitation-friendly poses especially to individuals with limited mobility due to injury.
- When suffering from back pain – Yoga can cause more back pain to individuals with existing back pain problems especially in performing advanced poses. Pilates allows the client to work closely with a professional trainer in order to monitor posture and proper execution.
- When exercising to lose weight – There is more cardio in Pilates due to the use of different Pilates apparatus.
- When working towards better posture – Pilates focuses on the correct postural alignment. Continuous Pilates practice has shown good results when it comes to improving body posture.
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Here are some reasons to choose Yoga over Pilates:
- When exercising to improve mental wellbeing – Yoga extends its techniques to align the body, mind, and soul to achieve holistic health.
- For the practice of meditation and breathing techniques – Yoga uses slow movements to give the individual opportunity to focus on the breathing. Yoga is more meditative compared to Pilates, which is more medical/rehabilitative.
- When on a budget – Pilates classes may be more expensive due to the use of equipment. Yoga video classes, however, are available online for free. Individuals may even simply practice at home with their yoga mat.
Evaluate your reason for engaging in a workout and decide which type of workout suits you best. Can’t choose? Try checking out Piloga, a combined routine of both Pilates and Yoga.
What is Tai Chi and what is its purpose?
Tai Chi traces back to ancient China. It is a series of gentle stretching and general physical exercise.
According to fitness experts, Tai Chi was originally developed for self-defense. It later evolved to be a stress management-focused workout, gaining its title “meditation in motion.” Tai chi involves slow and focused movements along with deep breathing techniques. Flow is very important in this workout. Moving from one stance to the next involves a smooth and continuous transition without pausing. The body must be in a gentle but constant motion.
Which is better Yoga or Tai Chi?
The major difference between the two is execution. Yoga involves holding poses while Tai Chi is a series of gentle but continuous movements. This point is up to the individual’s preference. Do you prefer holding poses or executing martial arts-like technique?
Boho Fitness in conclusion
Amid our busy lives, take inspiration from the bohemians. Take time to meditate, breathe and throw in a little workout. Free your mind, body, and soul, from the demands of life.
Have you chosen which workout is best for you? Talk to us in the comments.
- Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief
- Meditation for Beginners
- Meditation 101: Techniques, Benefits, and a Beginner’s How-to
- Benefits of Mindfulness
- How to Practice Mindfulness