Yoga is a movement meditation that has evolved into helping the whole person rather than just focusing on one aspect of healing. Many exercises fall under the umbrella of movement meditation.
Yoga is considered movement meditation because it teaches you to be present in the moment, focusing on breathing, movement, and posture. Yoga started primarily for spiritual reasons, but now it focuses on the mind, body, and spirit. Gestures and postures developed over time.
Asanas have become the defining feature of modern yoga as we know it. If you want to learn more about why yoga is considered a movement meditation, check out this article.
What is a Movement Meditation?
Movement meditation is when you incorporate a moment or rhythm in a meditative state or are self-aware of the harmony between the body, spirit, and mind. Movement meditation involves being present in the moment, creating an intention, and focusing on that.
For example, if you are practicing meditative walking, you will experience the world around you and embrace the fact that you are a part of that world. If you are walking outside and it is fall, you will not only see, but you will experience the colors of the leaves and how it feels to be a piece of that scenery. There are some significant benefits to movement meditation that you should know:
- Supports heart and lung health
- Boosts the immune system
- Teaches self-control
- Improves mood
Movement meditation combines regular meditation with calm, peaceful movement, concentrating on your breathing and stilling your mind. Exercise and meditation together can help you connect to your body more.
Which Practices Are Classified as Movement Meditation?
Movement meditation is when you are in the moment, free of judgment. You can accomplish this in many different ways. The following includes various movement meditations:
- Walking meditation, walking slower than average, and focusing on your breathing. It may help you to lose your shoes and feel the sensation of your bare feet on the ground.
- Yoga is meditative, and it teaches you to stretch your body while using your breath, feeling your muscles relax and your chakras coming into alignment
- Dancing is moving in a rhythm while focusing on your breathing. There are no rules in dancing except to move to the beat.
- Stretching is not as formal as yoga, but the principles are similar. Keep the focus on your breath.
- Tai Chi means having specific postures connected with slow movement. With tai chi, you keep the movement going. In yoga, you sit or stand in a pose for a period.
- Qigong is based on the movement of mythical animals like tigers or dragons. It is like yoga in some ways. The practice originated in China
The above are the most popular forms of moving meditation. However, you can get creative about it and practice mindful breathing in any situation in life. As long as you are utilizing gentle movements while concentrating on your breath, you are practicing movement meditation.
Did Yoga Originally Include Movement?
In the beginning, yoga was more of a mental exercise. It was also practiced for spiritual reasons. The main focus of yoga when it started was to teach the mind and body to be more observant and in tune with each other. There were a few original purposes involved in yoga:
- Higher consciousness
Over time, a more profound interest in physical health grew, which meant that some of these purposes shifted to yoga being more of a physical exercise than a mental one. However, yoga was always about uniting the body and mind. Poses came later and, over time, changed the entire yoga practice.
How Did the Asanas in Yoga Come About?
Hatha yoga was created in the 13th century, as physical poses were added into the mix, allowing the exercise to become more physical. There were mental and physical benefits all along, but the poses and movement in yoga during this time helped shape the face of modern yoga. These days, hatha yoga defines the form of yoga with physical poses.
However, hatha yoga was always supposed to involve spiritual enlightenment combined with physical exercise, as the original creators of modern yoga intended it. Incorporating physical poses were designed to be more for meditative purposes than health purposes. The original form of hatha yoga was more spiritual.
The goal of holding the poses for a long time was to help bodily fluids become nectar, as the original devout yogi’s believed. When you hold still in yoga poses for longer, you will push your bodily fluids from the intestines up through your brain, and it will turn to nectar. It was an old Hindu belief. The original purpose was to contemplate rather than produce endorphins.
Yoga Asana Development
The development of asanas in yoga came from the poses evolving from being spiritual to the incorporation of more fluid movement in the exercise. Fast forward to the 1890s, when the health craze began to dominate the consciousness of people’s minds. Health and fitness magazines were created, and the Olympics started during this time.
Swedish gymnastics was particularly influential in the formation of modern yoga. People wanted to learn how to heal their bodies. Asanas were developed for this express purpose. Some of the hallmarks of modern postural yoga:
- Breath control
Modern yoga is concerned with the health and union of the body, mind, and spirit as a whole. Yoga has always been a progressive, ever-evolving practice.
What is the Easiest Way to Get Started in Yoga?
You can make learning yoga a fun experience by taking a beginner’s yoga class at a yoga studio. When you try a beginner’s yoga class, you can determine what style best suits you. An experienced yoga instructor can help you with the correct posture and breathing, and you will have less opportunity to hurt yourself or become injured as a result of attempting yoga on your own.
Yoga is a movement meditation that has evolved and changed over the years. Practicing yoga helps you connect to your mind, body, and spirit in equal measure.