Meditation isn’t limited to sitting crossed legged, counting your breaths, or chanting a mantra. For some, this works wonders. Meditation can take that traditional form, of course, however, there are many other ways to meditate. One of these ways is through movement.
Movement meditation is active and perfect for those who find relaxation through activity. It is gentle enough for anyone to do and doesn’t require you to be super fit, sporty, or flexible.
What is movement meditation?
A few years ago I went to a meditation and mindfulness session. After some breathwork and talking about what we were grateful for that week, we went into the garden. We were encouraged to look around and really take things in. Bees collecting pollen from flowers, the veins on a leaf, the feeling of the sun on our cheeks.
We then turned to movement. We were encouraged to walk around the garden barefoot and really think about how the ground felt beneath our feet, how the grass moved between our toes with each step, and the alignment of our legs as we walked.
Most of us are rushing about these days, that we hardly notice how our feet feel unless we’ve got a stone in our shoe. This was certainly the case for me. I realised I’d not slowed down like this for a long time, if ever.
We then regrouped in a circle and performed some sun salutations and gentle stretches. They weren’t meant to be perfect, they were just meant to be felt.
It wasn’t easy at first. I kept going back into my head, or feeling awkward, but by the time the 20 minute activity was up, I had got the hang of it.
This was movement meditation.
What are the types of movement meditation
The obvious one here is yoga. Moving from child’s pose, to downward dog, to forward fold, to tree, you can see how a gentle yoga session could be meditative as you breathe from one movement to the next.
Other movement meditation activities could be Tai Chi, slow walking, gardening, stretching, dancing, and anything where you gently move.
How to meditate while moving
There doesn’t have to be structure to your movement meditation. You don’t need to follow a YouTube video, go to a class or subscribe to anything. You can quite literally just move, slowly, and in a way that feels good.
Don’t worry about how you look, instead, move with the feeling. It’s really quite empowering and freeing.
If your mind wanders to your weekend plans, or what you’re having for dinner, bring your thoughts back to the moment.
Leave your phone out of the room, or at home if you can. Smart watches pinging with notifications might be quite distracting too, so take it off and get back to it after.
Here are a few things you might think about or ask yourself:
Gardening – How does the sun feel on your back, the wind on your face or the breeze through your hair? How are your fingers working together to dig soil and plant?
Walking – How does your foot feel in your shoe, how does it feel when it strikes the ground?
Tai Chi – How does your body feel as you move through Tai Chi style movements? Is there any pain?
Why should you try movement meditation?
- Helps you to connect with your body
- Gentle movement is a great way to promote sleep
- Encourages relaxation
- Time with and for yourself
- Helps train the mind to keep focused
- It’s free. You don’t need to subscribe to an app, or go to a class. You can do it anywhere, anytime!
Have fun moving!