When the word meditation is mentioned most people will get a mental image of somebody sitting cross legged with their eyes closed. While it is true that this is how many meditators practice it is certainly not the full story. It is possible to meditate in a number of positions including sitting, standing, and lying down. It is even possible to meditate when doing everyday movements such as driving a car. Movement meditation can be particularly effective for those individuals who have difficulties with concentration are staying in the one position for a long time period. This is why this form of practice is often ideal for those people who are in early recovery from an addiction.
There are a number of different types of movement meditation including:
* Walking meditation is where the practitioner uses the movement as their main focus. This type of meditation may involve walking deliberately slowly so that the individual can carefully observe every aspect of the movement or it may involve moving at a normal pace.
* Dynamic meditation (mahasati meditation) involves observing movements of the hands. This technique can be practiced while sitting, lying down, walking, or standing.
* Yoga can also be a type of moving meditation. So long as the individual is focused on what they are doing then this can be described as meditation.
* Tai chi and Qi Gong are also considered to be a type of moving meditation as well as a martial art.
* The martial art katas (forms) can be practiced as a type of meditation. These forms can be found in most martial arts including karate and kung fu.
* Mindfulness meditation can be performed when engaged in almost any activity. This can be a highly rewarding type of meditation and even chores like washing the dishes can become something special.
* Dancing can also be used as a type of mediation.
Movement meditation can be particularly beneficial to those who are in early recovery from addiction. It is generally accepted that meditating can be of great value in sobriety but those who are new to recovery can struggle with concentration. They will find it hard to sit down in a lotus position and follow the instructions of traditional meditation. They are likely to find such practices frustrating and will therefore likely give up. Some people who are newly sober may also be dealing with problems such as restless leg syndrome and this can make staying sill for long periods almost impossible. The benefit of moving meditation is that it does not need to involve high levels of concentration right away. The fact that it involves movement means that the individual can also work off some pent up tension in the body.
Meditation can be a good option for almost anybody, but it may be of particular benefit to those who are recovering from an addiction. Those who regularly engage in this activity can expect:
* It encourages people to live in the moment. Most humans waste most of their lives caught in thoughts about the future and the past, and they fail to appreciate what is actually happening in the present moment.
* It helps the individual develop emotional sobriety. This is often described as the ability for people to feel their feelings and not be tempted to run away from them.
* It makes it much easier for people to deal with addiction cravings. They will see that these are just harmless thoughts that can be easily ignored.
* Those who are in early recovery can really find it difficult to develop a normal sleeping pattern. Meditation is an excellent anecdote to insomnia and sleep disturbances.
* Those people who regularly practice meditation have a lower heart rate.
* It increases the ability of people to deal with stress. Those who are new to sobriety may feel like they are facing a great deal of stress and meditation can help them cope with this.
* Meditation can lead to intense experiences of bliss and happiness. These can bring great comfort to addicts who worried that they would not find much joy in recovery – it shows that the opposite is true.
* Regular practice of these techniques can lead to increased self esteem and self efficacy. This is of great value to recovering addicts who usually suffer from low self esteem.
* Engaging in this type of practice is likely to reduce the risk of relapse back to addiction.
* It can help to reduce blood pressure if people are dealing with hypertension.
* It improves mental health and feelings of metal well-being.
* Increased self awareness.
* It can help reduce the symptoms of mild depression.
* Movement meditation can also improve physical as well as mental health.
* It is a wonderful technique for improved relaxation.
* Those people who regular practice meditation become less reactive when faced with difficult situations. This means that they are less likely to act impulsively and do things they later regret.
* Meditators develop an improved mental clarity. This means that they are better able to handle any problems that come their way, and this practice usually leads to important insights.
* It is a spiritual practice. It may even be a path that takes the individual all the way to enlightenment.
* Those people who meditate regularly are less likely to suffer from boredom. They appreciate that something interesting is happening in every single moment.
* This type of activity has been shown to lead to an improved nervous system.
* The practice can help the individual overcome their worries and concerns.
* It leads people to become more compassionate towards other people.
* From the outside it may look as if meditation is a selfish activity but in fact the opposite can be true. This type of practice can help the individual move away from self-obsession – a problem that affects most addicts.
* Meditation usually increases positivity.
In order to get the most from movement meditation it is suggested that people:
* Develop a regular practice building up to a minimum of 20 minutes per day. Those individuals who only do meditation irregularly are unlikely to gain much benefit from the practice.
* It is highly recommended that people find a teacher to help them master a movement meditation. Those who try to teach themselves this type of meditation are likely to become confused and lost.
* It is suggested that people do not strive to hard or have expectations that are too high from the practice. In order to really benefit from meditation the individual has to at least temporarily put aside their goal orientation.
* There are many types of movement mediation. If the individual finds that one method doesn’t really suit them they should try another.
* Once people have built up enough focus they may like to experiment with more traditional forms of meditation that involve higher levels of concentration.
* All meditators find that they will have good days and bad days with the practice. This is to be expected and practitioners should not become too discouraged by this.
* In rare instances those with mental health conditions may find that meditation exacerbates their symptoms. If this is the case they will need to stop and seek medical advice.