My after work meditations this week felt almost stifling, so instead of continuing with my usual sitting meditation, I went with a more movement-oriented meditation.
I ran across this Deep Peace of the Trees meditation from OBOD* and was reminded of a grounding and centering exercise I used to do for Tai Chi that was based on the movement “Embrace Tiger and Return to Mountain”. Instead of the actual movement in the sequence of Tai Chi, it isolates a repetitive series of movements that are intended to balance lower and upper, inner and outer. We did these as a warm up and cool down to every Tai Chi class.
At it’s very basic, it’s two full, slow breaths – Reach up, reach down, pull in, push away.
- Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent, inhale and bring your arms up in front of you, moving your hands along your midline until they reach up over your head. As you do this, straighten your knees.
- When your hands are fully above your head (but elbows are still soft), exhale and swing your arms out to the sides and down, rotating your palms to face down once they reach shoulder level and bending your knees again. At the bottom, cross your hands at the wrists, left hand in front, so your palms are facing your body.
- Now inhale, uncrossing your arms, and pulling your elbows back at your sides, drawing your hands to your waist, palms face up, straightening your knees.
- Then exhale and push away from you, keeping your elbows close to your sides and your palms rotating around so they are facing away from you, knees bending again.
I do this exercise in sets of 9 movements. Usually just one set of 9 is enough to make me feel calm, relaxed, balanced, and open to a more heightened state.
I thought this, or some variation on the OBOD meditation might help when I was having trouble focusing (this week was high stress at work, which I think is the source of my lack of focus). I was right, and switching to a moving meditation provided me with the grounding and centering I so needed after dealing with lots of stress and anxiety at work. I need to remember to do these moving meditations more often, since they seem to be extremely effective for me, especially when I’m having trouble getting my mind to settle into seated meditation.
*For all the negative things that happen on YouTube, I love finding Druidry there. Maybe I can help work to broaden the presence of ADF on YouTube once I get a little more established.