Yoga as Meditation in Motion

I’m moving through my Sun Salutations, inhaling and exhaling with the movement, or so I think, when I can’t remember which leg to step back into lunge. Wait, did I already do this side? Have I already flowed through Upward Dog? How many rounds have I done? My body is in the room, going through the motions of yoga, but my mind is far, far away. How did I get here?images

It’s so easy to get swept away in thoughts and mind chatter. After all, the mind is doing what it does best–analyzing and problem solving and planning. But when we are just going through the motions of yoga without engaging the mind in the process, then we’re not really doing yoga, which at its essence is stilling the fluctuations of the mind.

When I find myself getting disconnected from the present moment, I like to slow it down. Way down. I’ll start moving through the postures as if in slow motion. Then when I get into the full expression, I take several breaths. I take a few moments to really experience the pose, to feel the directional flow of energy and my connection to the earth. This gives my mind something to do. Then with my mind fully intent on the next step, I breathe and move into the next posture.

Yoga practiced in such a way can be like a meditation in motion. Use the breath as your anchor, moving consciously as you inhale and exhale. The breath can be your reminder to the brain to pay attention to what’s happening right now. Take as many breaths as you need to move in a way that allows you to stay connected to the present movement.

Soon you’ll be able to take this practice off the yoga mat and into the world. We’ve all found ourselves driving along without realizing how we got there, or showering on auto pilot while the mind works overtime. You can apply the same “meditation in motion” principles to every day tasks.

Use the breath to engage in the present moment, and focus the mind on the task at hand.  When you find your mind wandering off into other lands, gently invite it back with kindness, the way you would with a beloved pet. With practice, you’ll be able to move through all of life with more presence and consciousness.

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1 Comment

  1. Amber said,

    March 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Great post!


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