10 Types of Moving Meditations—Benefits of Mindful Movement

May 10, 2024

Sitting still for several minutes is hard enough, but add mindfulness into the mix and traditional meditation can feel impossible to beginners. If you’re interested in the benefits of meditation but want to get started by trying something besides sitting on the cushion, try moving meditations. Beyond just a physical exercise, it serves as a gateway for those seeking to integrate mindfulness into their daily lives.

What is a moving meditation?

Moving meditation is an active form of meditation that utilizes conscious movement to calm the mind, create awareness, and connect to the present moment. Many activities can be considered moving meditations, like walking, talking, singing, drawing, as long as you are mindful of your movements and connected to the present moment.

However, there are specific types of moving meditations that lend more easily to meditative states, keep reading to find out which ones we recommend trying!

What are the benefits of a moving meditation?

By now you’ve surely heard of the numerous, almost mind-blowing, benefits of meditation. However, what are the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of moving meditation? In all honesty, the results are very similar to traditional meditation. Although, depending on what type of moving meditation you participate in, you may have added benefits such as improved balance and flexibility. Additionally, people tend to find moving meditations are easier to do at the beginning of their meditation journey.

Benefits of moving meditation:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve mental health
  • Reduce depression
  • Better sleep
  • Pain reduction
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve balance and flexibility
  • Connect with your body
  • Connect with a higher power

10 Types of Moving Meditations to Try

  1. Yoga
    • You don’t need to be a yogi to practice yoga, anyone can benefit from a yoga session. However, be intentional when choosing your class, not all yoga classes are considered moving meditation; there are many that solely focus on the exercise element. If it is truly a moving meditation, you will be creating awareness, connecting mind, body, and breath with each asana—body posture—in order to cultivate mindfulness throughout the entire practice.
    • Yin yoga is a great place to start, it is a very slow practice—you hold positions for a few minutes at a time—that encourages you to truly tune into your body and stay in a meditative state of mind. Ashtanga or Hatha are also great, but may be harder to maintain awareness throughout, since they can be more strenuous.
    • Yoga can help elevate self-esteem, increase strength and flexibility, manage stress, promote good sleep, and increase relaxation.
  2. Tai Chi
    • This ancient Chinese martial art is a low-impact activity that uses slow and controlled movements paired with deep breathing. It is often described as “meditation in motion” and it is an accessible activity for all ages.
    • Benefits of practicing Tai Chi include increasing strength, cultivating inner peace, improving balance and flexibility, and balance your body’s energy (qi).
    • Check out our Tai Chi classes at The Buddhist Center!
  3. Walking meditation
    • Walking meditation is a practice rooted in mindfulness that involves walking in a deliberate, focused manner to cultivate awareness of the present moment. The focus is not on reaching a destination, but on being fully present and connecting the mind and body with the earth.
    • The benefits of walking meditation include alleviating depression, improving functional fitness, boosting digestion, and improving sleep quality.
  4. Qigong
    • This ancient Chinese tradition involves deep, slow breathing and relaxing movements. It differs from Tai Chi as it is considered more of a wellness system rather than a martial art and is usually considered to be more simple.
    • Qigong aims to improve sleep, reduce depression, relieve stress, and optimize energy within the mind, body, and spirit.
  5. Dancing
    • There are many different types of mindful dancing including ecstatic dance, soul motion, and open floor. You can explore these various practices or simply put on your favorite song, close your eyes, and let the music move you! Focus on your bodily sensations, breathing, and how you are feeling.
    • Mindful dancing is helpful in releasing endorphins, increasing relaxation, release negative emotions, boost confidence, and improve balance.
  6. Mindful cleaning
    • Mindful cleaning is a practice that involves cleaning with full awareness and a non-judgmental mindset, paying attention to each action as it unfolds. Instead of viewing cleaning as a chore to rush through, mindful cleaning encourages individuals to embrace the activity as an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the moment.
  7. Shaking meditation
    • This is a practice that involves shaking the body to release tension, stress, and negative energy. Shaking meditation—also known as TRE (trauma-releasing exercises)—is great for blood and lymphatic flow, and can even help to overcome trauma and depression.
    • One of the primary benefits of this meditation style is that it provides relaxation by releasing tension from our body and calming our nervous system. 
  8. Aikido
    • Aikido, considered a martial art, is a Japanese form of self-defense that embodies the principles of harmony and nonviolence. Translating to “the way of peace,” Aikido emphasizes cooperation and mutual respect over aggression and domination.
    • The rhythmic flow of Aikido techniques, breathwork, and awareness of energy within oneself and their environment, promotes a focused meditative state of harmony.
  9. Progressive muscle relaxation
    • This practice is a relaxation technique that involves systematically tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body. By increasing awareness of physical tension and stress, one can consequently allow the muscles to relax completely. We are often so disconnected from our bodies that we don’t even realize how much stress we are holding, this practice is wonderful for reconnecting the mind, body, and spirit.
  10. Forest Bathing
    • The term Forest Bathing—or Shirin-yoku—was coined in Japan to define the practice of connecting with nature by mindfully spending time in a forest or natural environment. In this practice one simply explores, appreciates, and interacts with the surrounding nature in a nonjudgmental and tranquil manner. Engaging in Forest Bathing is a wonderful way to decrease stress, induce awe, help with depression, and improve sleep.


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