We often think of meditation as sitting cross-legged, spine straight, eyes closed, a neutral facial expression, zero to few thoughts, deep breaths in, deep breaths out…
As a yogini, I’ve always struggled to sit in stillness. In fact, my best meditations have incorporated some type of movement.
Where does movement fit in with meditation?
This is an important question to ask, in part because yoga and meditation go hand in hand.
According to yogic philosophy, yoga’s medicine is in the movement: it’s through kinetic and dynamic postures that we connect with the body, thus activating our highest self. Each asana (pose) is intentionally designed to unite the mind, body and soul.
I’ve been meditating since I was 15 years old. At that age, I wasn’t familiar with the “rules” of meditation. I would just sit cross-legged in a comfortable position on my bed, turn on some ambient music, and close my eyes. From there, I’d let go of any control of my thoughts or the way my body wanted to move.
This was my meditation practice for many, many years. And it was nourishing.
As I got older, I started to take workshops and classes to learn how to meditate ‘properly’. The problem, however, was that I never felt the same joy sitting in pure, heightened stillness as I had when moving to my own rhythm in my own practice.
Now, as a yoga instructor, I know that there’s no ‘proper’ way to meditate. However, like the ancient yogis, I too believe that the medicine is in the movement.
In fact, there’s evidence that a moving meditation (gently swaying, humming, or massaging pressure points) can help with increased creativity, better sleep, emotional trauma release, relief from depression, activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (your “rest and digest” state), and improvement in overall mood.
If you’re curious to know how to start a moving meditation practice, I recommend first deciding when it is that you want to meditate. Is it first thing in the morning? Is it after work, or during your lunch break? Perhaps it’s in the car while you’re waiting to pick up your children.
Remember: there’s no right or wrong
You get to decide what your practice looks like.
I recommend choosing music that lights your soul on fire, and finding a comfortable position to start from, whether sitting or lying down.
Let your body lead your heart and your mind. Don’t overthink it.
The medicine is in the movement.
You’ve got this.