Today I would like to shine a light on meditation, as I am a big practitioner and believer of it. Especially during the times that we are now facing, it is important to remain physically, emotionally and mentally healthy. Meditation can help you in all these categories of life depending on what kinds of meditation you are interested in. I personally use meditation to relieve baggage, manifest my future, mantras, ground myself to the earth and connect to a higher power, access states of alpha brain waves (for creative projects and ideas) and to become one with my mind, body and spirit. Another way of meditation that I use, and a lot of athletes use around the world, is a practice of moving meditation. Yes, you may have thought that the only way to meditate was to sit ‘criss-cross-applesauce’ on the floor or by lying on the floor in shavasana – or corpse pose. However, by Wikipedia definition, “meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.”
Why you should begin meditating
Before we jump into different ways to practice moving meditation I want to express the benefits of meditation and why you should begin your practice today. There are twelve science-based benefits of meditation, known today by Healthline. Go to https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation for more information and examples of studies performed on the benefits of meditation. Meditation reduces stress and controls anxiety, which is one of the most common reasons why people begin to meditate. It promotes emotional health, as in it can lead to an improved and positive self-image and outlook of life. It enhances self-awareness, meaning it may help you understand yourself more and help you grow into the best version of yourself. As well as, lengthen attention span, reduce age-related memory loss, can generate kindness towards yourself and kindness to others. It may also help to fight addictions. It can also improve quality of sleep, especially if you meditate before bed. It also helps control pain and decrease blood pressure.
The number one reason why people don’t begin to meditate is because they “don’t have enough time in the day”. By taking 10-20 mins a day to meditate, it generates more time in your day by helping you become more productive and efficient with your time. Meditation is a practice that adds to your life in all means of it. Now, you don’t have to begin meditating for 10 mins a day today if you’re just starting. First, just try two minutes a day for a couple days until you become more comfortable with the practice. There is no need to rush this development. I know personally it was weird and hard for me to meditate and to train my mind to let go of everything, breathe and to focus. I encourage you every couple days as you begin your meditation journey, to increase the amount of minutes a day you meditate slowly but effectively.
Depending on what you like to do you may consider a form of moving meditation. Running can be a powerful moving meditation, it is very athletic and needs to be done properly in order to be most beneficial. For more information on how to run safely go to https://stayrunning.org/. Running as a meditation offers focus on your breath and surroundings. It’s also a catalyst for contemplation on your own thoughts and inner self. For me personally, one of my main outlets for self-expression, creativity and self-exploration is dancing. I’ve been dancing my whole life, since the age of 2, and have a deep appreciation and passion for dance. I use dance as one heck of a workout, to stretch my physical and mental capabilities, and for me to express my creativity and emotions. However, one of the main benefits of dancing for me is it is a way I access my flow state. A flow state of mind is when a person is performing an activity and they are completely immersed in feeling of enjoyment, clarity, energized focus, ease and reward (no matter the actual outcome of the performances in a game or match). AKA ‘you’re in the zone’. Many athletes access this state of mind when the game or match is on the line. In flow EVERYTHING fades away, that’s why it’s a state of meditation. You can access flow by being an athlete, running, dancing, by being an artist, creating music or art. Depending on who you are as an individual and what you truly enjoy in life helps determine your moving meditation preference.
My practice of still meditation:
- Sit or lay in suhkasana or shavasana (criss cross applesauce or corpse pose with shoulder blades snuggled under your heart and your arms resting by your side with your palms face up)
- Take 3 deep breaths beginning to breathe in your belly while you begin to flutter your eyes shut.
- Continue to breathe through your belly through the entire practice, taking deep, full breaths.
- Begin to scan your body head-toe relaxing into the earth. Imagine feeling the weight of your head on the earth, your neck, shoulder spine – scanning all the way down to your feet. Feel the constant and strong support of the Earth.
- Focus on your heart space, feel the beat of your heart, feel the circulation of warmth being pumped from your heart to your entire body
- Do this for 10 long, deep breaths
- Next, take 7-8 deep breaths, in your mind with every inhale think of breathing in peace into your mind and body, and with every exhale letting go of all stress.
- Take another 7-8 breaths, this time with every inhale think of breathing in and receiving love, and with every exhale giving love.
- Continue to breathe and scan your body toes-head repeating in your mind these words “I fill every body part with unconditional love and healing energy” and imagine as you scan each body part it illuminates.
- Go as slow as you feel necessary
- After scanning your body and filling it with unconditional love and healing energy, take a moment to notice how your body feels.
- To come out of the practice take 3 deep breaths and begin to flutter your eyes open.
- Take your time coming back, notice how different you feel after the practice compared to how you felt at the beginning of the practice.
- Move slowly as you begin to sit up and resume your day
How running is a moving meditation
- The natural practice of running instills a state of meditation by its consistent pattern of movement
- The synchronization of your opposite arm and leg helps produce the flow state of mind
- An effective warm up can help prepare your mind and body for the active form of meditation, to learn a safe warm up go to https://stayrunning.org/
Creative and Active Meditation
- Take a pose, sukhasana or shavasana and take 3 deep breaths into the stomach and begin to flutter your eyes shut
- Just take a moment to notice how you feel, where does your mind wander?
- Stay here as long as needed, just focusing on the breath in your belly
- To come out of the practice, take 3 deep breaths and begin to flutter your eyes open
- Move slowly to standing, begin playing music and witnessing your creativity pour onto the pages in colors or ink into images, lyrics or words, or onto the dance floor as you begin to find new shapes of movement.
I hope you enjoyed these examples of meditations and if you try any of them, let us know in the comment section below. If you want to share your experience over social media tag @advancedteens and @stayrunning on Instagram. Thank you for being here and beginning your wonderful journey of meditation with me. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when something new pops up! Feel free to contact me through email, Instagram dm’s or tweets. Spread the word and share it with the #advancedteens and tag us!
With much love and gratitude to all my supporters!