We’ve all been there: You sign up for a class you love. The day of, you arrive, get changed and are ready to go, but once your body gets moving, your mind can’t seem to catch up. Maybe you’re distracted by the endless amount of work you have to do at the office or are still upset over a fight you had with a friend. Whatever the reason, your focus is gone and you’re not enjoying the class like you usually do.
To the rescue? These Australian instructors, who tell you how to get your head back into the groove, stat:
Find the ‘Red Zone’
Tom Sproats, the founder of ScenicCycle in Sydney, says the “the best way our riders find focus in our classes is to take at least two to three minutes out of every class to shut down the mind, close the eyes and forget about everything else happening in the outside world. We like to call this our Red Zone; it gives our riders a sense of escape and inadvertently creates focus.” Whether you’re taking an indoor cycling class in Australia, Austin or Atlanta, take this idea to heart. When you can’t seem to get into the movement, focus on your breath and get out of your head.
Lizzie Bland, the owner and head trainer at LeanBeanFitness, encourages her students to focus by listening to the cues, instead of thinking while she’s speaking. She also likes to keep her workouts at a high pace and “keep the exercises flowing so they have no time to lose concentration and, in turn, get bored.”
Find your inner yogi breath
Dustin Brown recommends using breathing techniques throughout your class, (not just before or after). Taking class with Dustin at his gorgeous studio, Warrior One in Melbourne, is like going on an urban retreat. He helps you find your focus early in class with the integration of pranayama techniques such as Kapalabhati breath (or “Breath of Fire,” an abdominal breath with a quick exhalation followed by a natural inhalation, designed to energize and detoxify the body) and ujjayi breath (a deep, rhythmic breath in and out of the nose, designed to anchor your yoga practice). You’ll also integrate these techniques into some of your tougher poses to build discipline of breath and mind as well as inner strength and determination.
Integrating Qi Gong into your workout
Troy Abraham of Move Yoga in Melbourne uses Qi Gong movements in his classes to help you build your focus through the gathering of energy in the body and the mind. You’ll move your energy around with movement to breath, both warming up the body in preparation for deeper poses and bringing awareness, intention and drishti (focal point) to your practice.
Alternate breath through your nostrils
Liz Holman, the founder and owner of Fused to Move in Sydney, encourages her students to open practice with pranayama, and specifically alternate nostril breathing (known in sanskrit as Nadi Shodhan). Nadi Shodhan is a breathing technique that helps keep the mind calm, happy and peaceful. A few minutes of Nadi Shodhan pranayama is, to Liz, one of the best ways to de-stress the mind, release accumulated tension and fatigue, and find focus before a yoga practice.