Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction of the body to the increasing demands of our daily lives. However, too much of it can have negative effects on our body as well as to our overall well-being. That's why today, many individuals are looking for various ways to manage their stresses. One of the most thought-after methods is through meditation. While there are a number of ways of meditating through a state of stillness, there are also meditations through gentle and mindful movement. These are called meditations in motion. Meditations in motion such as walking meditation, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga are effective stress management techniques that you can opt to.
Walking meditation is a kind of persistence in motion. Here, mindfulness and meditation are being practiced while walking. You are also using the experience of walking as your focus. Here are some steps to do it properly:
- Try to walk slower than your usual pace and notice your breath while doing it.
- Feel your breathing. Every time you exhale, let go of those tensions in your shoulders.
- Be physically aware such as noticing the feel of your feet as they make contact with the ground or feel the sensation your heel as your foot strikes the ground.
- As you walk, sense the inter-related movements of the motion of your body. Try to notice how the weight of your body is focused on different areas of your load-bearing foot, as it moves from heel to ball of the foot, to the toes.
- Grasp the awareness of your breath, your body's movement as well as the peace and beauty of the present moment. Be with each step and each breath.
One way to reduce stress of today's lifestyles as well as to improve health is by practicing the ancient art of Tai Chi. It is also another form of meditation in motion because it promotes serenity through gentle movements, connecting your mind and body. It came from ancient China and being used as a self-defense, but today it evolved into a graceful form of exercise to reduce stress along with a variety of health benefits such as enhancing balance and muscle strength, improves body coordination, develops aerobic capacity, and boosting your immune system. This practice is made up of a series of slow, fluid movements and coordinated breathing. Here, you perform a series of postures and each post flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
Qigong meditation is a very old Chinese healing art that combines movement and meditation. Qi means energy while gong means cultivation. Putting it together, it technically means energy cultivation or energy work. When you practiced this kind of exercise regularly, it gains balance and flexibility, increases stamina, improves blood circulation, develops immune function, and relieves stress.
Controlling the flow of Qi is one key to achieving good health. When your mind is filled with the clutter of the day, the Qi in your body will become unbalanced, causing you stress and other diseases. With Qigong, you release stress by clearing your mind. Qigong meditation enables you to achieve balance at a physical, mental, and spiritual level.
Yoga is an ancient system of movement and philosophy that began in India. According to the science of yoga, the diaphragm is the seat of the intelligence of the heart and the window to the soul. During stressful situations, the diaphragm becomes too stiff to alter its shape as you inhale and exhale. By practicing yoga exercises, you can develop the elasticity of your diaphragm. Thus, when stretched, it can handle any amount of stress, whether it is intellectual, emotional, or physical.