There is a growing body of evidence that suggests sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy, if not deadly. Heart disease, obesity, and depression are just a few consequences of inactivity, and in most cases, these conditions could be prevented if our bodies were a little more active.
It is hard not to wonder what kind of harmful effects sitting in meditation might be doing to our health. If stiff knees and a tight lower back weren’t painful enough, the thought of damaging your health while trying to gain inner peace seems blatantly counterproductive.
For those who have a sedentary job, or are addicted to the television set, practicing a form of active meditation instead of the classic seated meditation might be a better option.
The following suggestions will promote health by getting your body moving while still enjoying the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of meditation.
Walking or running meditation
This is by far the best way to slip into a meditative state while being active. Choose a place to walk or run that is free from distraction, such as a trail in the woods, or a path by a quiet lake. Try not to direct your thoughts to any one thing, instead, allow for a stream of thoughts to come in and out of your mind.
Eventually, with practice, you will gain mental clarity and will find it easier to make decisions or come up with a great idea.
Cleaning or yard work meditation
With the right frame of mind, cleaning or doing yard work can be very Zen. Sweeping, raking, or mowing the lawn is very rhythmic. When you connect your mind with the rhythmic cadence these activities produce, your thoughts will dissipate and leave you feeling calm and serene.
It might just change the way you feel about doing housework, as it could become your biggest form of stress relief.
You neither have to be a great dancer, nor do you have to have any rhythm to enjoy this type of active meditation. All you need to do is turn up the volume on your favorite songs, move your body, and clear the space between your two ears.
Be sure to choose music that is uplifting and has a positive message, because when you are meditating your mind acts like a sponge and it will soak in whatever you feed it.
female runner image by BigStockPhoto.com
July 17th, 2012