Mindful movement allows us to take the practice of mindfulness into the movement of our body.
It can be a very strong and effective practice, and many people find that the focus on the body is an easier way to access mindfulness techniques than sitting meditation practice.
The principle is that we move the body in a controlled way, with the intention of being aware of the body as we do this.
There are many classes in the world today whereby we can practise mindful movement. We have yoga, pilates, tai chi, chi kung and other such activities.
However it is not necessary to go to a class to practice mindful movement. We can simply be aware of the body as we stand up, sit down, wash the dishes, and climb the stairs.
In fact there is no movement we can do where mindfulness is not a possibility.
How to start
Perhaps the best way to start is by becoming aware as we walk mindfully around a quiet place, such as a garden or yard. This involves bringing awareness to the body, in particular the feet, as we walk around in circles – our attention firmly focused inwards.
We can then think about introducing some simple movements connected to the breath – those taken from the tradition of Chi Kung are perfect for this.
This formal practice is extremely useful, but equally we may just decide that we will use one activity from our every day lives – to bring awareness to our movement. For example, we could be aware of the hands as they move when they wash the dishes after dinner on an evening.
The intention with these practices is to move mindfulness practice into our everyday lives. By attending to the body in this focused environment, we may just find ourselves more aware of the body the next time we walk to the bus stop, or push the trolley in the supermarket!
Mindful movement can be especially useful for those who struggle with concentrating in meditation. It is much more difficult to wander off when concentrating on the body and endeavoring to replicate certain movements.