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June 20, 2017
In early 2017, it seemed like meditation was everywhere. Americans were having a hard time sleeping, and data indicated that stress and anxiety were at an all-time high. As a result, workplaces and people who had once deemed meditation too "woo-woo" started to embrace it head-on and set aside time in their day to simply sit and breathe.
While trends of sleeplessness and anxiety haven't gone anywhere, when the days are long enough that dining al fresco and running as the sun sets are viable options, the idea of sitting on a meditation cushion makes many of us restless.
Enter the moving meditation, the summer revamp your meditation practice needs. "The world is beautiful," meditation teacher and mbg class instructor Biet Simkin says. "And it's best if I shut up, get real present, and delight in it now. If you happen to be walking, that's an excellent time to meditate. I do it summer and winter, but summer is about enjoyment."
Whether you walk for exercise and energy or to get from one place to another, take advantage of the time you have with yourself to meditate. "Silence, no phone, shoes off if you can," suggests Biet. "Notice all your senses—taste touch, smell, etc."
Michael Taylor, co-founder of Strala Yoga and mbg class instructor, says that when we introduce movement into our meditation practice, it creates a stronger mind/body connection. "First, connect your body and breath together as the same thing," he says when asked how to do a walking meditation. "Take a few super-deep breaths, letting each inhale lift and strengthen your body a bit, and each exhale soften you, making it a bit easier to be where you are, and move where you want to go. This breath-body connection both enhances your relaxation response and gets you ready to move in the most efficient and effective way possible. From here, walk! When you practice this while doing simple things like walking, you'll have it ready when life presents bigger challenges."
If you're craving a more fast-paced meditation, do it while you run. Running in itself is already mindful, so when you introduce the meditation it amps up that experience—and it might even intensify the effects of the all-powerful runner's high.
"Running is a walking meditation with just a bit more energy," explains Michael. "The practice is the same. If running is a challenge, wonderful. It's your chance to look at something challenging, and approach it like it's easy. The more you practice doing hard things the easy way, the more you'll be able to accomplish in everything you do."
So if you're getting sick of your trusty meditation cushion, pack it away for the summer and take comfort in the fact that you can meditate just as effectively while you're moving. And by the time you return to it in the fall, you'll be ready to turn inward.
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