Mind and Muscle: Considering Weightlifting as a Contemplative Practice
Keywords:Mindfulness, bodyfulness, movement, somatic practice, weightlifting
Many contemplative practice traditions include a physical embodied component. Contemplative movement practices, sometimes referred to as somatic practices, are characterized by bodyfulness as the natural companion to mindfulness and encourage full and integrated awareness throughout the mind-body. Movement practices may include an expansion of physical capacities and attunement to bodily processes. The author explores conceptualizations of contemplative practices with a focus on movement practices, and proposes the expansion of these theories to include weightlifting. Although stereotypes about weightlifting may emphasize a hypermasculine focus on dominance and competition, the author represents weightlifting as a varied and nuanced activity that appeals to a broad range of practitioners for myriad reasons. Aspects of weightlifting are described and considered as a contemplative movement practice that encourages bodyfulness and mindfulness. The author uses contemplative theory to reflect upon personal contemplative movement practice through weightlifting and offers suggestions for enhancing the contemplative aspects of weightlifting.
Amstadter, A. B., & Vernon, L. L. (2008). A preliminary examination of thought suppression, emotion regulation, and coping in a trauma-exposed sample. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 17(3), 279-295.
Anderson, J.W., Liu, C., & Kryscio, R.J. (2008). Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Hypertension, 21, 310–6. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2007.65
Bai, H., Park, S., & Cohen, A. (2016). Classroom as Dojo: Contemplative teaching and learning as Martial Art. The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, 3(1), 113-131.
Brusie, C. (2017, February 7). Just me and the iron: Using weightlifting as meditation. The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-weightlifting-as-meditation-20170207-story.html
Bugental, J. (1995). Existential-humanistic psychotherapy. New York: The Guildford Press.
Büssing, A., Michalsen, A., Khalsa, S., Telles, S., & Sherman, K. (2012). Effects of yoga on mental and physical health: A short summary of reviews. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, Article ID 165410, 7 pages. doi:10.1155/2012/165410
Caldwell, C. (2014). Mindfulness and Bodyfulness: A new paradigm. The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, 1(1), 69-88.
Chiesa, A., Calati, R., & Serretti, A. (2011). Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 449-464. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2010.11.003
Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5), 593-600. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0495.
Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2011). Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for psychiatric disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, 187, 441-453. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.08.011.
Clover, A. (2015, July 6). Mindful strength training for beginners (lifting meditation) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://stronginsideout.com/mindful-strength-training/
Davidson, R.J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S.F., Urbanowski, F., Harrington, A., Bonus, K., & Sheridan, J.F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 64-70. doi:10.1097/01.PSY.0000077505.67574.E3
Deen, J.C. (2013, October 28). Taking your training further – how mindfulness and visualization can get you there [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.schwarzenegger.com/fitness/post/taking-your-training-further-how-mindfulness-and-visualization-can-get-you
Earles, J.L., Vernon, L.L., & Yetz, J.P. (2015). Equine-assisted therapy as an effective treatment for anxiety and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(2),149-152. doi: 10.1002/jts.21990
Eberth, J., & Sedlmeier, P. (2012). The effects of mindfulness meditation: A meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 3(3), 174-189. doi: 10.1007/s12671-012-0101-x.
Humphrey, J. R. (2015). Dancing/Integration: Observations of a teaching artist. The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, 2(1), 101-123.
Jack, D. (n.d). About Activprayer. Retrieved from http://www.i-dedicate.com/about/
Jacobs, T.L., Epel, E.S., Lin, J., Blackburn, E.H., Wolkowitz, O.M., Bridwell, D.A., Zanesco, A.P., Aichele, S.R., Sahdra, B.K., MacLean, K.A.,
King, B.G., Shaver, P.R., Rosenberg, E.L., Ferrer, E., Wallace, B.A., & Saron, C.D. (2011). Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36(5), 664-81. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.09.010.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 144-156. doi: 10.1093/clipsy/bpg016
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2006). Coming to our senses: Healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness. New York, NY: Hyperion.
Miller, K. E. (2009). Sport-related identities and the “Toxic Jock”. Journal of Sport Behavior, 32(1), 69–91.
Packham, A. (2017, March 16). How to make your workouts more mindful: What to do before, during and after you exercise. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/mindful-workouts-advice_uk_58c94d03e4b022994fa3b5d6
Presto, G. (2015, May 13). The surprising ways mindfulness can improve strength training [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.sonima.com/fitness/mindfulness-strength-training/
Silva, K. (n.d.). Better weightlifting through meditation [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://daily.barbellshrugged.com/meditation-for-better-weightlifting/
Solberg, E.E., Ekeberg, O., Holen, A., Ingjer, F., Sandvik, L., Standal, P.A., & Vikman, A. (2004). Hemodynamic changes during long meditation. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 29, 213–21. doi:10.1023/B:APBI.0000039059.20738.39.
Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. New York: Rodale.
Yalom, I. (2002). The gift of therapy: An open letter to a new generation of therapists and their patients. New York: HarperCollins.
Zepeda, H. (n.d.). 5 ways weight lifting can make you mindful [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/5-ways-weight-lifting-can-make-you-mindful.html
Authors who publish with this journal sign a publishing agreement after their paper has been accepted. Through the agreement, authors transfer copyright to CMind, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, the publisher of JOCI. Authors may enter into additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of their work (e.g., to publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Authors are also permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website), with acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal and retaining the formatting as published in JOCI.