Active meditation is meditation in motion. It’s about focusing on the task at hand and incorporating mindful meditation into your daily routine.
The practice of active meditation can be beneficial for those who find it difficult to sit still in a traditional meditation setting. Essentially, it’s about connecting to the here and now while engaging in daily activities.
By paying attention to what is going on in your body while performing a task, you become more present and aware of yourself. This type of meditation helps you appreciate the simple moments in your daily life and find inner peace by simply choosing to be more mindful.
As the name suggests, active meditation is all about finding meditative moments in your daily life. Here are some examples of ways to practice active meditation:
By chopping vegetables for dinner, you can focus on your five senses, one sense at a time.
“Observe the sensations without judgment,” says Neena Lall, LCSW, MPH and Grouport Therapist. “Perhaps the knife is cold, smooth and heavy in your hand, you hear the sound of the knife swinging against the cutting board in rhythm as you cut, the pepper is bright green and the smell of onions sizzling already in the pan stings your nostrils.
Also, be sure to pay attention to the emotions you are feeling in the moment.
“Perhaps you feel warmth towards your family thinking of preparing this meal to feed them. Maybe you also feel stress when your to-do list comes back into your head. Your mind wanders, and that’s okay – you can still focus on your senses and get absorbed in them,” says Lall.
With practice, you will simply observe your feelings rather than being consumed by them.
The simple act of washing dishes can be conscious. Notice the water coming out of the faucet and feel the warm temperature of the water against your skin.
As you sweep the floor, focus on how your body moves and if you’re feeling brave, find a rhythm and start dancing while you do this chore. Have fun with it!
Likewise, while walking around, you can notice the sensations.
“Concentrate on the way the pavement presses against your feet with every step, the stretching feeling in each calf as you lift it, the coolness of the breeze against your face, the softness of the scarf that wraps around your neck. “, explains Lall. .
Remember, the fastest way out of your head is into your body.
Close your eyes and feel the water caressing your skin. Smell the shampoo and soap. Listen to the soothing sound of water. If you want to go further, imagine your worries being washed away.
Active meditation can be beneficial for those who have had difficulty sticking to a regular meditation practice, whether due to busy schedules or due to mental or physical factors that make stillness uncomfortable because it incorporate meditation into your daily activities.
“Active meditation may be a more accessible form of meditation for people with a history of trauma who may find that meditation practices built around stillness elicit feelings of anxiety,” Lall says. “It can also be an important tool for developing self-calming skills for those who struggle with emotion regulation or distress tolerance.”
Additionally, this type of meditation is more convenient for people with chronic pain that makes it difficult to sit for long periods of time. And for those who suffer from insomnia, the combined benefits of movement and meditation can improve mood.
You can read more about trauma-informed mindfulness here.
Tune into your senses
What do you see, smell, hear, taste and touch?
“As you walk from the parking lot toward the office building, notice the colors, shapes, and areas of light and shadow around you,” says Heather Yassick, MS, LMHC, Grouport therapist.
“Open your ears to sounds near and far. Feel every stride and notice your natural gait as you walk. If there are any odors or tastes present, take them.
The best part is that you don’t need to block an hour out of your schedule to start cultivating the qualities of presence that active meditation gives you. Try it for 5 or 10 minutes the next time you have that afternoon latte, and see how you feel!
Forget specific movements
Active meditation is less about the movement and more about the energy behind the movement.
“When we exercise, we tend to focus on how we move, body position, etc. Active meditation is not about that. It’s about focusing on the energy behind the movement,” says Paul Harrison, meditation teacher and creator of TheDailyMeditation.com.
“Focus on the energy that creates your movements, the place where mind meets body. Connect with the intention to move.”
You can do it with remarkably simple movements. For example, try slowly rotating your hand in circles. Focus now on the energy behind the movement, study how the mind creates that movement. This will strengthen your mind-body connection, and you only need to do this for about 5-10 minutes a day, adds Harrison.
When you begin your active meditation practice, start by linking this new habit to an existing habit. This will increase your chances of success.
“Do you brush your teeth every morning? Walk the dog every night? You can make your routine activity your time for active meditation,” says Lall. “It’s not only okay, but better to start small.”
Maybe for the first week you want to try using active meditation for 2 minutes at a time and then engage in your activity as usual. Maybe next week you want to try 5 minutes a day, Hall recommends.
Setting small, achievable goals will give you the momentum you need to keep moving forward.