Have you ever gone on a walk and completely lost track of time? Or gone on a run and looked down at your fitness tracker at mile 1 and zoned out until you finished your run at mile 4? Maybe you’ve been to a yoga class where you got so deep into your flow, that as your breath connected with your movement, the minutes in the class just faded away. You allowed your body to get into a rhythm that let your mind quiet itself and your body to just be, to do as it knew how. Your movement became meditative.
In this article of my meditation series, I want to talk about how movement can also serve as meditation for our mind and body. Many of us think of meditation as sitting completely still on the floor with our legs crossed and our eyes closed, but there are lots of ways that we can bring the principles of mind-opening meditation to life. Exercise is one of those ways.
This clear-mind state is most easily achieved when doing movement that is repetitive, such as running or walking, but can also be found in movement that our body is very familiar with, such as a regular yogi finding their meditative flow in yoga class. If you’ve ever taken a workout class you’ve never tried before, you’re probably aware that your brain has to work really hard to stay on top of everything that is going on in class; what exercise to do, how to move properly, how many reps, what’s coming next… your mind is busy. But if you’ve taken hundreds of yoga classes in your lifetime, you can find more of a flow state.
So for starters, try finding meditative movement with something your body is accustomed to. The easiest starting point is walking. Your brain doesn’t have to consciously think too hard to remember how to walk, so it can shut off and allow greater space for meditation. For this reason, I do not recommend trying to shut your brain off while doing heavy lifting or complex movement. If you’re doing heavy squats, please think consciously. Your body will thank you for paying attention 😉
One of the best ways to slip into a meditative state while moving, is to focus on your breath. Focus on the inhales and exhales that fill your lungs with air, to energize your body for movement. Turn your music or podcast off and just listen. Let the worries of the day slip away as you simply breathe and move, move and breathe. Your feet know where to go, your arms know just how to swing by your side, and the noise in your head can quiet itself as your subconscious takes control of each step. Allow yourself to zone out and find meditation in your movement.
This is a step that may feel even simpler than diving deep into a still meditation practice, so try implementing this into your current exercise routine and see what you discover about yourself. You never know what you could find, by simply hitting pause on your headphones for a few minutes of your workout.
Check out the other articles in this meditation series:
A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation