In a fast-paced world of challenging classes and overpacked work weeks, it’s important to take some time during class to allow students to mentally connect with the present moment. One of the biggest culprits that keeps us from progressing in our fitness journey is mental strength. As an instructor, you can focus on a few key factors during your classes to keep students mindful of their own goals and motivated to work toward them. Adding these simple tweaks to your next class will help you be an even greater resource for your students, and an integral part in keeping their motivation and focus high.

Start with the breath

Breath is considered a movement, just like our regular exercise positions. It’s important to start and end class with guided breathing techniques, in order to set up your students to perform their exercises correctly. One of the hardest parts about working out today is the hectic environment we live in, making it extremely difficult to be present in the moment during class. Start with a basic breathing pattern and be sure to remind students periodically throughout class.

Turn students’ attention inward

During a tough class when students are feeling really challenged, one of the biggest motivators can be reflecting on why they turned up for class in the first place. It’s important to keep the class participants focused on their own journey, and less about the instructor themselves. Often sharing the ‘why’ behind upcoming sequencing, programming or a specific move can be helpful. When students can internally relate the reasoning for certain exercises, it allows them to be mindful of their own journey and how the workout ties into it. It’s less about mirroring the instructor’s perfect form, and more about what they need to do to get there themselves.

Progress exercises slowly in the beginning

When it comes to maintaining mindfulness during workouts, it’s important to train your students to stay in the present moment and one way to do so is to focus on the tiny details of movements first. Narrate the flow of the programming — the who, what and why — inviting students to focus on their breath and how it relates to the exercise at hand. Tell them what they should feel, how they should look in position and what it takes to get there.

Most importantly, remember that mindfulness is a work in progress. Remind students that failing is part of progress and one of the most powerful ways we learn and become better in all avenues of life. Carry these tips into your next class for a powerful new way to motivate your students.