For those who don’t enjoy sitting in meditation, there’s another way to receive the benefits of the practice! By using the breath to connect to the body in movement, a meditative state can be achieved. In other words, you can find stillness within without actually sitting still. Movement meditation for a calm mind works!
Movement meditation is a great option for those who seek a quiet mind, but get restless easily. And though the two practices (seated and movement meditation) may look different from the outside, the techniques are similar. Both rely on an anchor, or something to keep the mind focused. While a mantra (or affirmation) could be used, I suggest using the breath as your anchor. By keeping the breath in the forefront of the mind, you can keep other thoughts from distracting you away from the body, and the present moment.
You don’t need any fancy props or equipment to practice movement meditation. In fact, you can turn most activities into a moving meditation. Just keep the intention behind the activity, and use your anchor to stay present.
This is a great gateway into movement meditation since you don’t need any skills or training. Plus it’s fun! Do this at home when no-one is around. Put on your favorite song. (Start off with just 1 song, but as you keep practicing you can create playlists for your movement meditation practices that consist of 3 or 4 songs.) Simply move as only you can. Feel the breath flow through all areas of your body, and keep your focus with it as you move.
While many serious runners experience meditation on their runs, you don’t have to be so pro about the whole thing. Recreational runners can meditate, and so can those who barely run at all, but are seeking a new way to calm the mind. All you have to do is pay attention to your breath. As soon as you lace up your shoes, and hit the pavement (or the grass or the beach or wherever you run), notice the inhales and exhales and coordinate them to your stride. When the mind wanders away from the breath, bring it back to the body and the breath.
If you prefer no impact in your movement meditation practice then walking is for you. Pick a place where you can walk very slowly, and not think about where you’re going. (A long hallway works well as does a backyard, or field.) Begin to walk your path for about 10-15 steps then turn around. Walk with intention. Keep your attention on the breath, and feel each sensation in the body with each step. Do this for 10 minutes as a practice. You can also integrate this into your every day life.
This is perfect if you’re feeling really tense with excess energy to burn off. Begin by standing on both feet hips width distance apart. Slowly start shaking one arm. Then do the other arm. Next shake one leg. Then the other leg. Slowly start to shake your whole body with your feet grounded on the floor. Shake out your toxic thoughts. Go at any pace that feels right, and use your breath to stay connected to the body. After about 5 – 10 minutes, slow down your shaking. Then complete the practice by coming back to stand.
The beauty of this is you not only end up with a clear mind, you get a clean house too! The trick is to slow down. So if you’re vacuuming, use your breath to guide the movement. Inhale as you extend your arm long then exhale as you bring it back in. Keep good posture – pull your stomach into the spine, and let your gaze be soft. Create a rhythm with your movement that allows the body to relax.
Meditation isn’t some exclusive thing limited to those seated on a tufted cushion. Any activity can become a meditation as long as you place intention behind the movement and use the breath to keep you focused. Next time you seek a quieter mind, try one of these movement practices to get you there.
Which form of movement meditation for a calm mind would you try?