4 Essential Types of Mindful Movement
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Mindful awareness isn’t just about the 10 minutes spent in the Lotus position during your daily meditation practise; it’s a part of everyday life!
Mindful movement practices can boost focus, improve body awareness, and help you to make the most of your exercise session.
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The 4 Types of Mindful Movement
While any movement can be mindful if done with the correct body awareness, there are 4 main types of physical activity that best lend themselves to meditative movement. They are; walking, stretching or yoga, physical exercise and Tai Chi.
Mindful walking can reduce blood pressure, improve feelings of wellbeing and develop a greater appreciation for Mother Nature!
While walking is something most of us do everyday, we are often plugged into our music or a podcast, so we’re unlikely to notice what’s going on around us.
Mindful walking or walking meditation is traditional Buddhist mindful practice that can help you to reconnect your body and surroundings.
Body sensations like the feeling of your feet making contact with the ground can be combined with breathing exercises, allowing you to tune into what’s going on in your body and connect to the present moment
Moving slowly and consciously through yoga poses, being aware of physical sensations can ease anxiety and calm your mind.
You’ll learn to breathe through tension during your yoga session, and this skill is invaluable when times get tough in your day to day life.
Of course, regular exercise can also be practised mindfully. While it’s tempting to watch our favourite TV show as we pound the treadmill or go into our own little world while lifting weights, mindful breathing during exercise, whether at the gym or at home, can be hugely beneficial in creating mental focus and drive.
When you pay attention to how your body feels during a challenging movement, you may notice that your mind starts typically to give up before your body.
Being conscious of your breathing rate and developing muscle awareness can help us to activate those typically lazy muscle groups, keeping us going for longer. You’ll be rewarded with a greater full-body workout, as well as elevated emotional wellness.
Tai Chi, like yoga, focuses on slow, simple movements practised in sync with the breath. Keeping a balanced body, controlled movement, meditation, a structured breathing pattern and mental imagery will help bring together the mind, body and spirit.
A regular Tai Chi practice can reduce stress, improve sleep, regulate cortisol levels and enhance quality of life.
Another form of mindful movement that is gaining popularity worldwide is martial arts. Martial arts like Sanda Kickboxing and Kung Fu are not just about self-defence; they’re about building a stronger, healthier, and more focused you.
Sanda Kickboxing, offered at our Sanda Kickboxing Academy in Brixton, South East London, is a dynamic martial art that combines traditional kickboxing moves with elements of wrestling and boxing.
The focus and discipline required in Sanda Kickboxing can help improve your mental strength, reduce stress, and enhance your overall wellbeing.
What are the Benefits of Mindful Movement?
A mindful movement meditation takes a mindful movement practice one step further. A mindful movement practice involves immersing yourself in the movement, feeling your body and the endorphins that flow as you move.
A mindful movement meditation offers a richer experience. The aim is to absorb yourself in mindfulness exercises completely.
Beginners may wish to practice in a class, with a mindfulness teacher, while those with more experience will be able to enter this meditative state independently while practising a mindful activity.
The Difference Between Mindful Movement and Yoga
Not all yoga is mindful movement, and not all mindful movement is yoga!
If you engage in a meditative form of yoga, mindfulness will be at the centre of your practice.
But while awareness is one of the key components of yoga, it’s possible to be mindful during almost any other physical activity that occurs during daily life.
Anything from running, swimming, lifting weights or Zumba can be done mindfully, and paying attention to what your body is doing can greatly enhance your session.
Next time you reach for your headphones and iPhone to get you through your morning 5K, try going without for just one session. Turn your workout into a mindfulness practice.
Pay attention to the sounds, the sights and the feel of your body, moving in sync with your breath. You’ll harmonise your body and mind, notice far more than you would otherwise, and you may even enjoy your session more than usual!
- Mindful meditation can be integrated into almost any activity, and it’s especially beneficial when incorporated into your daily exercise routine.
- Walking, stretching, lifting weights at the gym and Tai Chi are all forms of exercise which can be practiced with awareness of sensations.
- The benefits of mindful movement include reduced stress, a better mood, improved focus, and any other benefit attributed to mindfulness practice.
- A mindful movement meditation involves moving your body in sync with your breath and with full awareness, eventually entering a deeply calming body scan.
- To integrate mindful movement activities into your exercise routine, try going without music and instead paying attention to your surroundings and the feel of your body.