Meditation on the Move

I think we all essentially know the basics of a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and try to reduce your stress. It sounds so simple but it’s a never ending balancing act. While I have found meditation helpful in reducing my stress and grounding me each day, it was not easy to get into the practice.

In the video and post below I’ve shared a technique for an active meditation exercise you can do in just a few minutes. In addition to helping you clear your head it gets you out into the great outdoors and gives you a great sense of inner calm for the rest of the day.

Active Meditation Blog

I couldn’t have thought up more crap if I tried! One of the first times I tried to meditate in the late afternoon I was thinking about whether I had a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry to throw into the pasta I was making for dinner that night, the email I forgot to reply to and how I should organize the Rubbermaid bin of winter clothes all at the same time.

So much for peace and tranquility. Then I thought…maybe I am doing this at the wrong time of the day, so I tried the morning. I would walk across the room to turn of the iPhone alarm and get back into bed to run through my meditation. The only problem is I just kept falling back to sleep and making myself late. My meditation became worse than hitting the snooze alarm five times every morning.

active-meditation What I thought would be a great addition to the daily routine became another source of stress. I either could not turn my brain off or I could not stay awake. I swung from one extreme to the next until I found out what was right for me. The two methods that I find most useful are visualization meditation and active meditation. This blog will guide you through a technique for active meditation I find really awesome.

Meditation is so simple yet so challenging at the same time. I’ve heard from many people that meditation doesn’t work for them. They can’t focus their attention for more than a second or they fall asleep while repeating Om. I get it, as I described above I have the same challenges. While meditation becomes easier and more effective with practice, trying an active form of meditation can help to groove the practice into your life more quickly and successfully.

You’ve probably heard something about meditation being good for you but may be unsure of how or why to start. In our busy and over-stimulated world it’s important to give your mind a break and actively focusing your mind is better than simply relaxing.

While it’s dismissed by some it has real health benefits for everyone. Neuroscience research has shown that it helps you learn to focus, decreases anxiety and reduces stress. It can even help reduce age-related declines and studies have shown that it can physically change your brain.

Active mediation combines movement with focused attention. There are many different forms but the one that I find really useful is a Navajo prayer. I first heard this from an interview with Martha Beck. She is the amazing life coach that writes an incredibly funny and insightful column in the O magazine every month.

The process is simple. Go out walking and look for beauty in your surroundings. Say to yourself the following as you walk and actually look for the beauty in each location.

Navajo Prayer Meditation Chant- Beauty All Around You

Beauty before me ( and really find some)
Beauty behind me ( and really find some)
Beauty above me ( and really find some)
Beauty below me ( this might be more difficult unless you have some really great walking shoes)
Beauty to my left
Beauty to my right
Beauty within me…you get the drill and repeat.

It is amazing how there is beauty everywhere if you think about it and look for it. When we open our eyes and look around we can find beauty often in the everyday simple things. It might be a blade of grass defiantly poking through a concrete lot, a bird freely flying above or an eye-catching sign. This act of focusing on the beauty quiets the mind and puts the brain in the meditative state. A relaxed state that results from this can give you unexpected ideas or solutions during the walk and during the rest of the day.

I found this video with a similar chant and you could listen to this on repeat as you walk along. Although I find doing your own thing can sometimes be better than trying to keep up with the audio.

Another benefit of this practice is just getting outside in the fresh air and getting up from your desk. Don’t try to plan or solve anything during these walks, just focus on being in the moment. Commit to a five minute meditative walk once a day and build up your focusing power to spend up to 15-20 minutes in this active meditation.

Do you meditate? Why or why not?

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