Is Yoga Meditation? 4 Activities You Never Knew Were Meditation
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.
And of course, any physical movement (even if gentle) is of benefit to us.
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).
To find out more about QiGong click here.
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.
TO GET YOU STARTED – CHECK OUT THE BEST YOGA STREAMING VIDEOS AND DVDs
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.
You can also stream quality yoga now for very little cost.
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.
Alternatively, click here to see my Top 7 Yoga Streaming or Video choices.
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!
I really loved this article as I’ve often tried meditation but thought I wasn’t doing it right. I’ve known about mindfulness for a while, and walk outside most days. I always find it relaxing and purposely focus on the walk and not worrying thoughts. Oddly, it always boosts my creative thinking, and some of my best ideas pop into my mind when I’m walking. You’ve certainly inspired me to look for online courses:)
Not many people know but one of the benefits of meditation is creativity. The likes of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs etc came up with answers/ideas from the place of no mind. I’m glad to have inspired you. Check back soon as I will be reviewing some courses that may be of help to you. Thanks very much for your comment Kathy.
Great article on movement meditation! We often think of meditation as something you have to be still and close your eyes to accomplish. I’ve always wanted to do Tai Chi and you’ve encouraged me to give it a try. I can see the slow walking working as well. I walk six days a week (fast though as it’s my cardio workout) and I do some of my best thinking during that time. I feel focused when I walk, so I can imagine how mediation would work.
I hope you do Karen. It’s worth it. Thanks for your feedback.
I love painting and definitely find it relaxing! perhaps not a complete state of meditation, but a close second. We absolutely need to listen to our bodies, they will tell us. I’m a yoga newbie this year and really looking forward to learning how to “quiet the mind”
Great to hear you have started yoga. Maybe down the track you could also try sitting meditation. Great combination.
Yoga, in my opinion, is a great medium for meditation. It’s definitely relaxing after you stretch those tight muscles at your shoulder and thighs. Because it teaches you how to breathe between movements, the heart moves in tandem with your intention and keeps the mind in focus. Such synchronization is lacking in our busy world, so the more you practice, the calmer your body will react to stressful situations.
Thanks Kathy, and it’s great to do a form of moving meditation before a sitting meditation too.
I find meditation so useful to get rid of stress and anxiety and calm down my mind. I’ve always been an over thinker. It wasn’t until I was faced with a serious health issue that meditation became important to me, and I’ve done it ever since then – it’s been almost 12 years.
Meditation helped me get through such a difficult period that I didn’t have any control over. Now, I do walking meditations on the beach regularly and it’s hard to explain just how much better it makes me feel, and how connected I feel with the universe.
I’ve been investigating finding a movement meditation class. I’m exploring your site – this is great and I know it will be a resource for me. Thank you.
Thanks Melissa. Yes, it’s often periods of crises that propel us into alternatives or a decision to live life in a different way. That was the case for me. I’m glad you found meditation and it helped and continues to help you. I hope you find other posts useful. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I have been looking into meditation of late mainly because of the stress with my business. It seems like I have found a way to unwind through yoga, I’ve heard people say good things about it, and how that in particular it relaxes the mind, so it could be perfect for me.
You have outlined why meditation is so important well and the types of activities you can do to exercise that.
I will have to look into each of the other activities you mentioned, but for now, I think I will stick to yoga.
That’s great, do what feels right for you now. I always say that a moving meditation is a great way to enter into a sitting meditation too. Thanks very much for your feedback.
I was always interested in Tai Chi, but never really had the time for it. I really enjoyed your website. I learn more about Tai Chi than I did a few minutes ago.
That’s great Thomas, that was my intention. I hope you find the time to give Tai Chi a go.
Everything that puts the body, mind and spirit in harmony I think is beneficial for us. I like to walk, I do it almost daily (the doctor recommended me). While walking I like to look at nature and sometimes I meditate. But I like summer most when I can swim. I feel relaxed and meditate. Is this also a form of moving meditation?
Yes, I believe elements can be (though it’s obviously not a traditional moving meditation) if you are focused on the inner body and beyond thought. It can be a great entry into a sitting meditation too once we’ve done a moving meditation.
Hello there,thanks for this awesome article it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.i must say that you have done a great job on this one as it’s very informative and also interesting too.this article has really inspired me to dive deep into mediation as I never knew it was this powerful.
I’m glad I’ve motivated you to dive into meditation. It is very powerful. I believe it’s the only way to make sustainable transformative change and to live a more peaceful and joyful life. Thanks for your feedback.
I read your blogs on your website. It very informative if you don’t know anything about meditation. Like me.
Your website very well designs and easy to read. I wish my website were that clean and neat. I think you are doing really well. Keep on your good work. Wish you all the best.
Thank you Tom, I’m glad you found it informative and helpful. And, thanks for the positive feedback around my website design. It’s appreciated. I wish you the best too.