Last updated on September 23rd, 2023.
After working nonstop for several months, I decided that there was something that I needed to do in order to relax and find myself again. With the help of some in-depth internet research, I found out about something called movement meditation, and put together a comprehensive guide on how to do it and how these actions can help.
Why are movement meditations so good for you? Movement mediations can be beneficial in a variety of aspects, from physical health to improving the actual functioning of your brain. The main reason why a lot of people practice movement meditation is to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while improving moods.
After you have been practicing movement meditation for some time, you will notice an increased control over your mind and body, with more patience and self confidence than you had before.
There are so many different ways that you can practice movement meditations, from Yoga to Qi Gong. Movement meditation is ideal for people who are seeking relaxation and inner peace, and can be done at home. There is no special experience or flexibility that is required to practice the art of movement meditation, just patience.
If you are looking for something that you can do to help you with any of the problems that were listed above, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about what movement meditation is and how it can be good for you.
What Is Movement Meditation?
Movement meditation – one of the 4 primary types of meditation – is a form of connecting the body and mind through a series of movement techniques. When most people hear the term meditation, they think of someone sitting down with their legs crossed and eyes closed, being completely still and silent.
- Series of movements
- Several different techniques
- Performed as meditation
- Practice of slow mindfulness
- Alternative to traditional meditation
- Creating a spiritual path with body movements
- Exploring spirit with mind and body
While this is the general definition of meditation, there are other ways to be able to find your center, without having to keep your whole body in one position. Movement meditation is ideal for those who are not too fond of being in the same place for long periods of time.
Movement meditation is best practiced when you actually have some energy throughout your body and would like to put it to use. So, if you have a short attention span or you are not very good at staying still, movement meditation techniques might be for you.
There are a series of different movements and techniques that you can practice in order to complete a movement meditation session, all of which include becoming aware of the connection between your body and mind.
In addition to the awareness of your body parts and how they can be controlled by your brain, you will also be creating a certain kind of spiritual path with your body movements. Your main goal throughout the entire process will be to become aware of yourself as a person and establish a deeper connection within yourself.
There are plenty of benefits that come along with movement meditation, which will be described in more detail in the next section.
The Benefits Of Movement Meditation
When it comes to movement meditation, there is a reason why the practice is so popular among people who are looking for a deeper connection with their inner selves. There are so many great things that you can get out of regular movement meditation.
In this section, we will be going over all of the reasons why you might want to try movement meditation for yourself. The list down below is a short outline of some of the things that you can achieve by using the techniques of movement meditation.
The Benefits Of Movement Meditation:
- Better brain health and functions
- Reduces anxiety
- Helps depression
- Elevated mood
- Higher self-esteem
- Less stress
Since movement meditation is the general practice of using your mind to connect with and control your body, it is quite obvious that these techniques will benefit the brain. In doing this on a regular basis, you will begin to notice improved brain health and functions.
While using your brain to move your body, you are essentially exercising it. Just like how you would lift weights in the gym to get muscles in your arms, you are working out your brain while using it to meditate and lift your limbs. As a result, you might feel like your head has been cleared and you are thinking quicker than usual afterwards.
Movement meditation has more long term benefits as well, and can help with a lot of mental health conditions that you might be experiencing due to a variety of different factors.
First of all, practicing movement meditation can ease and reduce any anxiety that you may be experiencing. Whether this is a recurring condition or you are anxious due to your environment in a certain situation, you can use movement meditation techniques to calm yourself down.
This can be helpful before you start your day to help you remain calm throughout your endeavors, or right before you leave for a big presentation that you are nervous about. Movement meditation can be practiced literally anywhere with no equipment needed, so you can even stop in the midst of situations throughout your day to regroup.
Along with reducing anxiety, movement meditation can help to lower or diminish feelings of depression. Even though depression can be a hard thing to completely cure, you might notice some drastic improvements with regular movement meditation practices.
Even if you are not necessarily depressed, you can turn to movement meditation to help you feel happier when you are sad. In general, these techniques will help to lift and improve your mood overall. So, if you ever just need a pick me up to start your day on a good note, a movement meditation routine will prove to be beneficial.
Movement meditation can also help you to improve your own sense of self. With the practice of having full control over your bodily movements and sensations, you can start to feel more powerful in your every day life.
Just knowing that you have so much power over yourself will gradually help you to feel better overall in regards to your self esteem. Over a period of time, you will most likely see changes in what you are thinking as well as how you are conducting yourself in your everyday life beyond the meditation exercises.
It may even surprise you to hear that when studying yoga, which is generally known for its physical postures, one of the primary focuses within yoga is breathing. Yoga means “to yoke” together and syncs breathing, movement and focus. Many yoga teachers are surprised to learn through their in-person or online yoga teacher training so much of their study (especially in Astanga yoga) is actually all about the breath.
Another main reason why people turn to movement meditation to solve their problems is due to stress. If you have high levels of stress in your every day life, there is no doubt that you will be searching for relief in some way.
If working out or getting a massage is not cutting it for you, you might be surprised at how much you can benefit from simply doing a few of these mental exercises right in your own home.
Movement meditation is known for reducing stress by relaxing the body and centering the mind. When your brain is all over the place and you are thinking about everything that you need to get done, you can start to calm down when you channel all of that energy into something more positive.
By focusing all of your attention on connecting your mind and body together, you will be able to relieve your stress in a relaxing and constructive manner.
The process of learning the techniques of movement meditation is almost like training your mind and body to carry out these functions properly. As a result, it will take a lot of time and practice to master these routines.
While it is true that it might take you a few tries to get it right, you will notice that your patience in your every day life has improved after you have been practicing movement mediation for some time.
Tips For Movement Meditation
If you are interested in trying out movement meditation for yourself, there are a few more things that you should keep in mind in order to do so correctly. Take a look at the list down below to find some helpful tips on how to practice this activity.
Tips For Movement Meditation:
- Pay attention to the surfaces that you are in contact with
- Be mindful of every part of your body
- Enter the world of your body
- Stay relaxed and let your body guide you, instead of the other way around
- Slow and natural movements
- Put you focus on the movements only (not on any specific action)
- Keep your body light with gentle movements
During your meditation, you should always make sure that you are paying attention to two main things: your own body and the surfaces that you are coming in contact with. The whole point of using movement to meditate is to become aware of yourself and everything that your body is doing.
Additionally, you should be entering the world of your own body with your mind, trying your best to get in sync with your inner self. Stay relaxed throughout your entire routine and allow your body to guide you, instead of you guiding your body and forcing it to move.
Slow and natural movements are the key to a successful movement mediation session, and should be practiced until your body flows naturally with the techniques you practice.
Always put all of your focus on the movements themselves, instead of a specific action such as raising your arm up in front of you. It is important to be aware of the changes that are occurring throughout your body, without forcing them to happen.
Keep your body feeling light with gentle movements in everything you do during movement meditation, and you will be on your way to a very rewarding session. In the next section, we will be going over some actual techniques that you can apply these tips to when you try movement meditation for the first time.
Movement Meditation Techniques
Now that you have learned what movement meditation is, as well as some helpful tips that you can follow in order to successfully find your inner peace, you might be curious about what kinds of actual movement routines that you can carry out.
There are so many techniques and sequences that are associated with all different types of movement meditation, but I have done some research to pull together a list of some things that you can add to your own routine.
These movement sequences can be followed step-by-step for an easy movement meditation routine. On the other hand, you can try each of them to find out which ones you would like to mix and match or rearrange to create something that is comfortable for you.
Take a look at the list down below for a super quick explanation of these techniques, and keep reading through the rest of this section to get a more detailed explanation of how you can achieve each one.
Movement Meditation Techniques:
- Sync your breathing with your movements for five minutes (slowly)
- Place your palms on your chest and slowly breathe out while extending them forward away from you
- Stand up slowly from a sitting position (stretching the body slowly, think about lengthening)
- Move your body and spine in slight motions to find the perfect posture (sitting or standing)
- Feel each individual body part moving for a few seconds each (starting with one toe)
- Move your body at the rate of your heartbeat
- Control your body with your mind by controlled movements with a series of tests
- Walk around with free movements (ignore how your body is supposed to move)
- Sense the connection between body and mind when opening and closing your fists
- Lay down and pretend you were just born, assess your feelings and thoughts
- Listen to a spoken mantra, poem, prayer, scripture, etc. Move your body to the rhythm of the words.
- Pretend your spine is a snake and walk around accordingly
- Massage your own hands or feet and observe all of the sensations
- Slowly walk around and touch everything that you see. Feel the energy connection between your hand and the objects.
- Stand up and move the pelvis side to side and front to back and feel the sensations
The first movement meditation technique that you can try will begin with you getting in touch with your inner self and synchronizing your mind and body. To do this, you will sit or lie down, whichever one is more comfortable, and make movements according to your breathing patterns.
Almost like the beat of a song, you will move your body parts along with the timing of your breaths, both inhaling and exhaling. You can start with a slower breathing speed in order to get into a rhythm that feels natural.
This technique is a great way to start out any movement meditation routine, and will help you get into coordination with yourself and ultimately set the mood for everything you are about to experience. It is recommended that this step is taken for at least five minutes, but can be extended as long as you need.
The next technique can be achieved by placing the palms of your hands directly up against your chest. You will breathe in slowly and allow your arms to stretch out in front of you. Every time you breathe out, you will return your arms back to the position against your chest that you started in, repeating this for several minutes.
After completing this exercise, you will slowly rise up into a standing position from where you are sitting. In doing this, you should be envisioning your entire body stretching up and becoming longer as you come to a full stance.
Standing on both feet, you will walk forward slowly, picturing your legs getting longer with each step you take. When you have walked the entire length of the area you are meditating in with this in mind, you will sit back down, now thinking about your body stretching downward and getting smaller.
When you have reached the sitting position, move your body and spine in slight motions while you adjust in order to find the perfect posture. The perfect posture, not to be confused with a perfectly aligned back and neck, will be whatever position feels the most natural and comfortable to you.
You shouldn’t be trying to hold your back and shoulders in a certain position. Instead, you should almost feel like you are floating, completely relaxed and not pressuring your body to take a certain form. You will then be able to rest your body in the position that you are sitting in and continue your breathing exercises.
The next step can be taken either sitting down or laying down in the same position. The point of this upcoming exercise will be to become fully aware of every part on your body, while simultaneously relaxing them.
You will start in the most relaxed position possible, beginning by moving one of your toes slowly back and forth. This should last for a few seconds, and then you will move on to each individual part of your body. In order to get the best results, you should spend about twenty seconds on each part to really feel each individual sensation.
Following your awareness of each body part’s movements, you can experiment with supervising your body using only your mind. Once you have finished this exercise, you will be able to control your limbs with just a thought in your head, instead of using your muscles.
The first step will be to move your arm straight up in front of you. This will feel just like a normal body movement, with tight muscles and all of the strength coming from your arm itself.
Place the arm back down by your side, and try to relax it as much as possible when you raise it back into the same position again. It is important to pay attention to how you are feeling on the second try, adjusting the arm as necessary to make it the most comfortable transition possible.
On the third time that you lower and raise the arm, you will really want to focus on using your brain to tell your arm to become lifted. Instead of physically raising it, you will use your mind power to allow it to float back into position instead.
When you have done this successfully, you will notice that your hand, fingers, and forearm will slowly curve upward until your arm gently returns to its upright position.
After you have had enough practice with this technique, you can begin to walk around with your body in a free position, paying no attention to the societal standards of how a person should look, stand, and walk.
If it helps you to more effectively detach with the way that your body is moving, you can get on your hands and knees and crawl around, pretending to be an animal. In doing this, you will allow your body to move naturally as you would imagine the animal to.
Continue in your experimenting with mind control by thinking about your hand and your brain. In order to analyze the connection between the two, think about opening and closing your fist until your mind is able to do it for you.
Move into a position where you are laying down on the ground on your back. During this exercise, pretend that you were just born. Observe all of the feelings and sensations that you feel throughout your body.
After becoming aware of your new body, start to crawl around and gradually allow yourself to walk around. While completing all of these motions, you should be discovering the movements as something new that you have never done before, just like a baby who is learning to walk.
If you have some kind of recording of a spoken mantra or religious scripture, you can play it out loud in the room where you are practicing your movement meditations. Listen closely to the rhythm of the person who is speaking, and allow your body to move accordingly, just like the beat of a song. (What does a mantra do? Find out in that article!)
While you are practicing this technique, you can take it one step further and try to almost act out what the person is saying. For example, if the person is speaking about love and peace, your face can reflect a calm expression with slow and graceful movements of your arms and torso.
If you are not already standing, you can get up from your position on the floor and begin to walk around in your area of practice. This time while you are walking, you should envision your spine to be flexible like a snake. With every step that you take, think about your spine moving with you from side to side as if it is liquidated.
Moving into a sitting position, you can begin to give yourself a massage on one or both of your feet. During this time, you should be paying close attention to how your fingers and feet are feeling and reacting to each other. Feel the sensations of these movements and take note of them in your mind.
In order to connect with the objects and energies that surround you, you can walk around your home slowly while placing your hand on all objects that you come in contact with. This can be anything from your kitchen counter to an armchair or a floor lamp.
You should be paying attention to four different things while you are carrying out these motions. First of all, you should feel the energy that flows from your shoulder to your arm, pushing your hand forward to touch the objects.
Next, you should be feeling the energy flowing down your arm in order to touch what is in front of you. There will also be an energy flowing into the object from your hand, as well as some of the object’s own energy traveling up into your arm through your hand.
Finally, you can finish in an upright standing position with your entire body relaxed. Slowly start to move your pelvis all around where you stand, side to side as well as back and forth, even experimenting with swaying figure eight motions. Throughout the whole time that you are doing this, you should be noticing the sensations that you feel.
To conclude, movement meditation is a very beneficial practice that can help you out with a lot of problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition to solving existing issues, it can also boost your mood, self confidence, and patience that might not have been there previously.
If movement meditation is something that really interest you, you might consider meditation coach training.
With the help of all of the techniques that were outlined in this article as well as the tips that you can use along the way, you will be able to successfully practice movement meditation to experience all of the wonderful benefits in your mind, body, and soul that have been discussed today.