This is not an article about meditation. This is an article for people who can’t stop moving, like fitness coach Amy Clover. She admits that meditation has never come easy to her. While she felt the need to quiet her mind, stilling her body was a big challenge for someone who’s highly active. But there are many types of meditation you can practice. She shares her story below and introduces the idea of moving meditation – a meditation practice for people who can’t sit still.
From my one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, California, I can hear people in the building across from mine screaming at each other in a language I don’t understand. Out the window across the room, I hear jackhammers tearing apart the street, blocking off coveted parking spaces. Oh wait, someone just started playing bongos.
In a world where there just doesn’t seem to be silence anymore, how can you find your peace?
Still Your Mind With Movement
I’ve never been an Om person. I’d rather be moving, lifting heavy things and sprinting and getting things done. I love yoga, and I can embrace a calm state of mind in the studio, but meditating on my own is something I’ve never put much effort into because I’m just not interested.
Moving meditation is something that I’ve discovered by accident. I didn’t read a book on it. In fact, I tried, but ended up putting it down because it was boring. It might sound counter-intuitive, butmoving meditation helps center and calm me when I just want to yell out the window, “Shut the hell up!”
Running As a Form of Meditation
I run to think. I run to breathe. I run because I don’t feel like I’m wasting time doing it, which is what seems to consume my mind when I try to sit in one spot for any length of time and meditate. If I’m feeling disoriented, anxious, angry, or any other negative emotion, I go out on my usual 3.2 mile loop in my neighborhood with these things in mind:
If you feel like you’re working hard, you’re going too fast (an idea stolen from the bookBorn To Run).
- Breathe. Belly-expanding, deep breaths.
- Remember to look at your surroundings. Take in the sun. Take in people’s smiles when they pass you by. Take in the excitement of the dogs as they go out on their morning walks. Notice what you take for granted every day, become aware of the effect it has on you, and express gratitude for it.
- Sing along. Music helps me relax instantly. Mouthing the words helps me enjoy each moment as it comes, instead of worrying about what I still need to do when I get home.
I run away to come back to myself more positive, present, and calm than when I left.
You can do this form of meditation with any slower-paced aerobic activity – no sprints or fast, heavy lifts. You should be breathing fairly easily. On a scale of one to ten –one being sitting and ten being sprinting from a bear – your level of exertion should be between four and seven for this workout.
Don’t run? Walk instead. Hop on an elliptical at the gym. No gym membership? Pick up a sponge and start cleaning the house.
Activity can provide as much calming release as sitting still and quiet can. As for me? Thanks to a recent run, I can tune out the noise around me and focus on what matters.
There is no reason why you can’t start this today. Give it a shot!
What’s your ideal form of meditation? Are you the still and silent type, or do you prefer work it out with some action?
Whatever your style, join us on Tuesday, September 2, when we kick off 21 days of daily meditation exercises. Click here to take the challenge!