Need Fitness Motivation? Try Mindfulness

Make exercise more effective -- and fun -- by practicing mindful walking, running, swimming, tai chi, yoga and more (13 Photos)

Maura Rhodes on Jan 11, 2012 at 10:45AM

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Need Fitness Motivation? Try Mindfulness

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Mindful Swimming

Even the very best swimmers can get bored following a little black line back and forth in a pool, stroke after stroke. For beginners, swimming can be terrifying (“Am I drowning?”) or baffling (“I’m moving as hard as I can and I’m going backward!”). Enter Terry Laughlin, a swim instructor who developed Total Immersion swimming in 1989 to address both the boredom and the fear expressed by the adults he was teaching to swim. “They were terribly uncomfortable in the water, afraid of sinking and choking, and so distracted by their discomfort that they couldn’t concentrate on a technique or execute it correctly,” says Laughlin. “It became clear that I had to get them to think about swimming differently.” Instead of focusing on forward motion, Laughlin coached his students to think about balance and streamlining. To increase their comfort in the water, Laughlin taught his students to float effortlessly, and encouraged them to explore how to create and reduce resistance (what happens to your hips when you lift your head above the waterline?). Laughlin invites his students to be curious and constantly examine their relationship to the water. “We’re teaching swimming as an art,” says Laughlin. “It’s graceful, fluid and relaxed.”

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