12 Week Mindfulness Series- Week Four: Active Meditation Practices
Posted on August 28 2018
In the last journal, you were introduced to various ways of practicing meditation and mindfulness. In this journal, we practice active meditation in the forms of walking, yoga and exploring body language.
Take a Walk
For many, one of the earliest accomplishments in life is taking your first step and walking. Walking is central to our lives and opens itself to be integrated with meditation and mindfulness. Below are tips for practicing walking meditation.
Stand up straight with your back upright, but not stiff. Feel your feet touching the ground and distribute your weight evenly.
Hold your hands at your belly button and curl them together with your right fingers wrapped around your left thumb and your left fingers holding the outside of your right hand.
Drop your gaze to remain focused.
Step out with your left foot feeling the heel, balls of your feet then toes hit the ground.
Take note of the feeling as your body transfers weight as your feet move.
Walk steady and slightly slower than your normal pace. When your attention wonders remember the sensation of your feet touching the ground.
This leads to a more focused practice. Maintain a steady gaze, inhaling and shifting the weight to the left foot. Exhale slowly shifting to the right foot.
Go outside and explore your neighborhood. Walking with your hands swinging naturally, follow a set path (sidewalk). Limit your interactions with others and open your senses to be present in the moment.
Similar to the urban walk expect the environment is more restorative. Can also be done barefoot.
Walk without a fixed destination. Use your senses and stop from time to time if something catches your eyes, nose or ears.
If you use a wheelchair, cane or walker to assist your mobility, shift your attention to the sensations you feel while moving such as your hand gripping your wheels or cane.
Yoga meditation is perfect for those moments you want to bring awareness and balance to your mind and body. You can do this in the morning before your daily routine or as you are winding down before bed. When you move through the sequence, your mind may stray. Bring it back to your breath and any other physical sensation. Doing this sequence before a longer seated meditation practice will bring increased stamina, flexibility and support.
Do you remember the last time you noticed how your body felt in its natural state? Not talking about your heartburn after eating spicy food or a headache after a long day of work. I’m talking about right now in your present state, how does your body feel? If you subscribe to the newsletters you may recall from week 1 that I observed how my body felt in its natural state and was not satisfied, leading me to curate this 12 Week Mindfulness Series.
In our rapidly moving, interconnected world, it is very easy to live each day detached from our bodies. When something is in disarray within ourselves we are so detached that we don’t even realize it, until the issue has magnified and hit us square in the face.
This week, really pay attention to what your body is telling you. Take a moment to pause, breathe and relax.
Laying on the floor, scan your body moving from your toes to your head.
Close your eyes and relax your body. Rest for a few moments and pay attention to the natural rhythm of your breath. Once you are settled bring awareness to your entire body. Notice how your breath moves you slightly off the floor. Now focus on individual parts of your body. Draw your mind to the feeling of your toes, move up to your ankles, then your legs, knee, thighs and continue with each part of the body until you reach your head. How does your body feel? Is there a sensation you never noticed until now?
If you fall asleep during this practice its ok, just go back to the last section of your body you remember scanning and move forward.
Next, we will explore ways of making mindfulness a habit in your daily life to refresh your day, and find balance.