When you don’t feel like sitting and have energy to burn
Sometimes the idea of sitting down to meditate can be an unpleasant thought and can evoke feelings of resistance or even anxiety. And, the more we think about it, the more unsettled we can become and the less likely we are to actually sit and meditate or if we do it is very short lived.
If you feel like a ball of energy and have a lot of energy to burn, you may not feel as though you can actually sit for any length of time, but would prefer to use some of that energy. So, this can evoke questions like “Is Yoga Meditation?”.
Fortunately (and what a relief), there are alternative ways of meditating that don’t require you to sit for any period of time and can help to release pent up energy whilst also inducing a sense of calm, connection and presence and have the same wonderful health and wellbeing benefits as sitting meditation.
Many of these activities are unknown to people because mainstream thinking is that meditation is just something you do when you’re sitting or maybe at a push when you are laying down.
But, the knowledge around movement meditation is growing and this is a wonderful thing. Why? because it’s great to have options right. I certainly like options – the more the merrier.
Outside the square
Many activities can be meditative, for example painting, drawing, colouring and also those where greater movement is involved.
Years ago, I lived in the opal capital of the world Coober Pedy, Australia. I spent some of my time walking the opal fields looking at the ground searching for opal. It wasn’t about striking it rich (though you would hear no complaints from me if it happened) but more about the fact that is was meditative. It was a focused activity that took me out of mind and into being (the present moment).
Sometimes, activities we think aren’t even close to meditative can be. In some cases, people do think outside the square and will ask:
Is Yoga Meditation?
Is Tai Chi Meditation?
Or they may hear that you can move whilst meditating and so ask:
What is moving meditation?
What is movement meditation?
What is mindful movement meditation? or
What is mindfulness movement meditation?
These are all great questions and it is heartening for me because I know that people are becoming more and more interested in meditation and looking at alternative ways to practice if sitting isn’t their thing or they need a different way to get into the swing.
So, “what are the different movement meditations?”, I hear you ask.
I’ve provided information around 4 movement meditations (Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong and Walking Meditation).
4 Movement Meditations
1. Is Yoga Meditation? Yes!
Yoga is a holistic and mindful practice that includes physical movements (asana), breathing (pranayama), meditation (dhyana) and relaxation (savasana).
Practising yoga is believed to encourage union of mind, body and spirit and restore the whole person to balance. In my personal experience, I can vouch for this.
It relaxes the muscles and improves suppleness, fitness and physical function.
And, it also relaxes the mind, teaches us how to control stress, destructive emotions and unhealthy habits.
With an internal focus on the body it can bring us into presence and connect us with our being beyond the mind and also what is actually going on for us physically and mentally.
The wonderful thing about Yoga is that the movements can be simple and so if you have had very little physical activity and are very stiff, are elderly, ill or disabled this can be a good option for you too.
So, whether you are regularly physically active or not, yoga is great for our health and wellbeing and can be practised by all regardless of how fit or unfit you are.
To find out more about the health benefits of yoga, you might like to read my article Health Benefits of Yoga: More than you think!
2. Is Tai Chi Meditation? Yes!
Tai Chi is an art embracing the mind, body and spirit. Originating in ancient China, Tai Chi is one of the most effective exercises for health of mind and body. It includes meditation through exercises and movement to promote and enhance total health.
And, if you didn’t know, Tai Chi though practiced with slow movements is actually a martial art.
The ultimate purpose of Tai Chi is to cultivate the qi or life energy within us to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body. Total harmony of the inner and outer self comes from the integration of mind and body, empowered through healthy qi through the practice of Tai Chi.
It is practised through forms (a set of slow-moving, graceful exercises performed in a definite pattern).
During the practise of Tai Chi, one relaxes, focuses the mind and concentrates on the breath so that you can coordinate breathing with all the movements of your body. This special attention to breathing has earned Tai Chi the special title of ‘meditation in motion’.
There are of course various forms of Tai Chi, so it’s a matter of trying them out and seeing which one you like.
I love Tai Chi. I first practiced Tai Chi about 23 years ago with a retired nun (yes, a nun). I had gone to a retreat following a particularly difficult time in my life. Among other things, she did Tai Chi on her balcony, atop the trees each morning overlooking the ocean.
She gently encouraged me to try. There was no pressure. And, I did it. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.
Why do I love it? I love that there is continuous flow to the movement. It’s like a gentle slow dance. Please don’t let this put you off if you’ve honed in on the word dance and dancing isn’t your thing – it’s merely my description.
I would encourage you to give Tai Chi a go.
Ever wondered what Qigong or Qi Gong is?
Qigong is an all-inclusive modern Chinese term that applies to integrated mind-body-breathing techniques and practices. It encompasses all forms of energy exercises, mind-body healing or therapies, internal cultivation skills and practices, and meditative practices.
It includes Daoist and Buddhist spiritual and meditative practices, a significant portion of Traditional Chinese Medicine, soft martial arts such as Tai Chi as well as energy healing practices and can be considered as Qigong (Qigonginstitute.org).
4. Walking Meditation
If you can walk you can meditate. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Whether barefoot or not, it doesn’t matter.
The idea is to slow each movement down (I’m talking a snail’s pace here) and be mindful of each movement.
With this the mind is very focused.
Feel the sensations within the inner body as you walk. For example, as you raise each foot slowly and place it down moving forward, feel the inner sensations of your toes, feet (ball of the foot, heel etc) and legs etc.
You will notice that as you become more and more in tune with your body you will feel the sensations within much more strongly.
You will begin to feel and realise the aliveness of your inner body.
Where can I find a movement meditation class?
Seek and ye shall find!
In the community and video classes
Most communities will have some form of movement meditation class that you can attend, but if not, well we can certainly do a walking meditation without attending a class and as for Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong there is a wealth of DVDs out there on the internet (let your fingers do the walking) that you can purchase or you can download videos at a very reasonable cost.
Online classes and courses
Alternatively, there are many online courses that you can do.
The beauty of this is that you get to keep all materials and often these courses come with lifetime access to video tutorials etc and allow you to interact with other members or course teachers. That’s an added benefit. It keeps you connected and with likeminded people.
Let your mind and body tell you what you need
Our minds and bodies will tell us what we need. We just need to listen!
I have a number of different yoga DVDs, so depending on what I feel like on any given day I will choose accordingly.
I came across YogaDownload. They have a vast range of classes and programs to suit anyones needs and they’re currently offering Unlimited Yoga Streaming for 2 weeks for $1. Just click the Yoga Download image to get started.
It’s a great way to test the water and you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I’d love to know what you think.
On those days that you feel like you need to relax or try a more traditional meditation it helps to have something on hand. Go with what resonates with you.
My article on What is the best guided Meditation? Top 5 Best Value for Money will help you out with that.
I’d love your feedback on this article. Please let me know your thoughts or ask any questions.
Go forth with ease and just be!