Now this is a wonderful meditation variation, especially for those of you who struggle to sit still. I made use of this type of meditation when I first started and it is a great way to connect your body and breath. By connecting your movement to your breath, you can get into the right mind state for meditation a lot faster and easier.
Movement meditation is as simple as practicing mindfulness in all life activities. It includes any type of meditation in which you move. There are many different options but basically any movement can be used as a meditation if you apply mindfulness and do it at a slow pace.
In our fast-paced world, many people struggle to sit still long enough to meditate, or become restless and start to fidget. Different forms of movement meditations are great alternatives, as you receive the benefits of mindfulness while getting some gentle physical exercise too. Therefore, a walking meditation is specifically helpful to release physical tension and stimulate blood flow.
Movement meditation can be practiced indoors, but outdoors is usually preferable to give you space to move, as well as fresh air. It can be practiced before sunrise, during your lunch break, after work or after dinner. Practicing this at certain times of the day will allow your movements during other times to be transformed. Movement meditation is a powerful way to change an activity we do daily into a mindful and peaceful experience.
Steps to Practice a Movement Meditation
Step 1: You can choose to be inside or outside, find a peaceful spot in your garden or a park or the beach. You can begin seated with your eyes closed while you bring your attention to your breath.
Step 2: For five minutes simply spend time syncing every movement you make with your breath. Try different gentle, slow and repetitive movements such as swaying your body from side to side.
Step 3: Put your left hand over your heart and your right hand over your stomach and breathe. Feel your chest and stomach expand as you inhale and compress as you exhale.
Step 4: Keeping your eyes closed, slowly stand up and feel how your body lengthens. Start a body scan, begin at your feet and feel your connection to the earth, move upwards slowly noticing any tension, stiffness, sensations or emotions that you may be feeling.
Step 5: Open your eyes now and start to take small, slow steps that align with your breath. As you inhale step forward with your right foot and as you exhale place your left foot in front of the right. Keep your pace consistent and slow and completely in tune with your breath.
Step 6: Continue in this manner until you reach the end of your path. Stop here, take a deep full breath in and out. Then turn around and follow the path back in the same manner as before.
Step 7: Your gaze can be anywhere during this meditation, and your thoughts will wander like it does during any meditation. Therefore, try to keep your attention on the rhythm of your breath and steps or movements, and just redirect it back if you get distracted.
Guidelines to Help You Practice Movement Meditation
- A movement meditation does not have to be too structured and can be anything from 10 minutes to an hour.
- Choose a place without too many distractions and a predetermined path that is not too long, this allows you to get to know the route, which minimizes the chance of distractions even more.
- Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, or depending on where you are you can even go barefoot to connect with the energy of the earth.
- Once you become comfortable with your movement and walking meditation, you can bring these mindful elements you have learned into your everyday life, making yourself mindful of all aspects of your life.
- The combination of gentle movement, a meditative state, fresh air and sunshine will energize and revitalize you and bring you closer to nature.
- If your mind wanders, notice what it is that distracts you and let it go, to bring your attention back to your breath and movement.
- If you are a yogi you could even incorporate some gentle simple yoga positions during your movement meditation.
It is important to understand that there really is no difference between mindfulness and meditation, so by incorporating mindfulness into your daily activities you are getting the same benefits as meditation.