Updated: Apr 3
Mindful movement is good for the body, mind and soul. Mindful movement is different than regular exercise because you are not just going through the motions but you are paying extra attention to your body, how you feel, how you are breathing, and what you are experiencing. For example: when you are running or working out with your favorite music blasting in your ears, you will most likely be less aware of how your body is feeling as to when you mindfully tune in to what you are doing as you are moving your body. Practicing mindful movement is a form of meditation because you are aware of what you are doing and observing the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing at the same time. If you have trouble with seated meditation, I highly recommend practicing 10 minutes of mindful movement each day so you can still tune in and check in with yourself.
Chair yoga is a wonderful way to link your breath and movement together. Some other ways you can practice mindful movement is walking around campus, jogging or running without blasting music, hiking in nature, yoga, stretching, and pretty much any form of exercise where you are especially in tune with your body, how you are feeling, the thoughts arising in your mind, and your breath.
When you practice mindful movement it is important to find an anchor for your exercise, something that you can focus your attention back to when you find yourself wandering. That could be your breath, or if you're riding your bike your anchor can be the pedals underneath your feet, it you are walking it can be the friction between your foot and the ground, if you are playing basketball it could be the ball hitting your hand. An anchor can be anything as long as it helps you return to a place of centeredness after wandering.
Practicing mindful movement helps to strengthen our mind body connection. When you are more in tune with the signals your body is giving you, the better you can take care of yourself. For example if you feel tightness in your chest or nausea in your stomach, you might be experiencing anxiety. When you are aware you are experiencing anxiety then you can take action to help yourself feel better. Or maybe your shoulders and back are tense, this could mean you are stressed. When you know you are stressed you can take action to relieve that stress by taking a warm bath, soaking in the hot tub, or getting a massage. I encourage you to try mindful movement and notice how you feel afterwards.
Below is a chair yoga exercise you can follow along to if you want to try mindful movement.