Mindful Movement Meditation
Your body doesn’t have to be physically still in order to practice mindfulness meditation. Some people struggle with being physically still for extended periods of time. However, almost everyone enjoys moving their body in a mindful way.
Making time to do mindful movements, with your attention fully in the activity with mindful attitudes, is meditation. Meditation doesn’t mean you have to be physically still. Meditation is simply intentionally focusing your awareness on a chosen object for a designated period of time.
Many of the traditional martial arts as well as the ancient practices of yoga and t’ai chi emphasize a mindful awareness of the discipline. They sometimes include sitting still and meditating as part of the training.
Have a go at this simple mindful movement meditation sequence and see how you find it. Wear loose, comfortable clothing for the exercise.
If you suffer from a physical health condition, please check with your doctor before doing these exercises. Some may be inappropriate if you suffer from high blood pressure or back problems, for example.
Begin with mindful standing.
Simply stand up straight with your feet about hip-width apart. Allow your knees to be slightly loose. Have your shoulders back and down and your chest comfortably open. Allow your arms to hang by the sides of your body.
Check that your head is balanced on your neck and shoulders. Imagine a helium balloon is attached to the top of your head gently pulling you upright. Keep your eyes closed if you can maintain your balance safely that way.
Feel sensations in your body.
Notice the sensation of your own breath. Feel the weight of your body upon your feet. Become mindful of areas in your body that feel tense or uncomfortable without trying to relax them.
Move your arms up and down.
When you’re ready, move your arms upwards in front of you as you breathe in and back down again as you breathe out. Notice the physical sensations in your arms and hands as you do this about ten times.
Move your arms up and out, in and down.
The next time you breathe in, raise your arms in front. Then, as you breathe out, open your arms outwards. As you breathe in, bring your arms together in front of you again. As you breathe out, bring your arms back down to your sides again. Do this about ten times if you can.
Stretch your arms.
Raise your arms above your head and feel the stretch. See how far you can comfortably reach. Hold that stretch until you begin to feel some discomfort and see if you can stay with the feeling of discomfort for a few moments before bringing your arms down again. Repeat if you wish. Keep breathing as you do so — no need to hold your breath!
Rotate your shoulders.
Rotate your shoulders slowly several times in both directions. Feel any tension that may be there. At the same time, feel your breathing if you can.
Gently rotate your head from side to side.
Be careful with this one and do it slowly. Gently drop your left ear towards your left shoulder. Then rotate your head round in front of you and then let your right ear move towards your right shoulder before going back into the center again.
Shake your arms and legs.
You may like to finish by shaking your arms and legs for about half a minute and then stand upright again and feel the sensations throughout your body.
Write down your experiences of the mindful movement meditation. By reflecting on your experience, you generate more mindfulness as you’ll be more curious about exactly what you notice next time you do the practice.
Write down a sequence of mindful movements or stretches that you’d like to try. Then try them!
How energized and mindful did you feel at the beginning?
How energized and mindful did you feel at the end?
What did you notice about your bodily sensations? Be as specific as you can — this writing exercise can be a mindful practice in itself.
What emotions arose for you?
What thoughts crossed your mind?