Tuesday Tip: Get Active with MeditationMarch 23, 2021
In this week’s Tuesday Well-Being Tip, how to take your meditation from the cushion to the world.
A unique feature of the Healthy Minds Program app is the ability to choose your guided meditation as either an “active” or “seated” posture. This can be intriguing for individuals who may not feel comfortable sitting still for 20 minutes, or can’t figure out where they might fit anything else into their day.
But if you’ve never done an active meditation before, it may be hard to know where to start. Here’s an active meditation 101 for those who are just getting started.
Why meditate on the go?
One common misconception about meditation is that you have to sit still with your eyes closed to do it. In truth, you can meditate anytime, anywhere. You can practice while you’re out for a walk, for example. You can even meditate while you’re doing the dishes or when you’re answering an email or having a conversation.
Active meditations train the same skills as sitting practices – skills like being more aware and attentive, or finding ways to appreciate and care for others. When you’re first starting out with these active meditations, it’s easiest to choose an activity that doesn’t require too much mental focus nor interaction with other people – something like taking a walk, waiting in line somewhere, or doing a simple chore at home.
The key is to choose something you can do while keeping most of your attention on the guidance of the meditation.
Active meditation is a great way to bring your practice from the cushion to the real world – and it helps busy individuals get over the barrier to creating a habit – because you can incorporate it into your daily routine.
How to start
- Find the right activity. There are a few ways to approach this: additive to your usual routines, or as an impetus to try something new. For example, if you take a shower every morning, that’s a great activity for active meditations because you’re already doing it at the same time every day. Or, let’s say you really want to get outside more during the day – incorporating an active practice while on a walk is a nice way to launch a new well-being habit. Many of our app users rave about using active meditations while tackling boring household chores like folding laundry or doing dishes. Choose one that works for you.
- Bring awareness to your activity. Do your activity as you normally would, and then add some mindful awareness. Bring your attention to what’s happening right now. Notice some of the details you might normally miss. For example, if you’re folding laundry – what do the clothes look like, smell like, feel like as you’re folding? If you’re walking, how do your feet feel as they hit the pavement, can you hear the cars or the birds, can you feel the breeze on your face?
- Try it out with the Healthy Minds Program app. Next time you do a practice in the Healthy Minds Program, try an active meditation, like what you just practiced.
- Bring your active practice into your day. You don’t need the app to meditate while doing an activity. You can really do this any time, no matter where you are and what you’re doing – try pausing for a few mindful breaths every now and then, and see if you can find small things to appreciate about yourself, other people, and the world around you.
A nice active mediation to try out is our “Tour of the Senses” practice. So, choose your activity and give it a try, good luck taking your meditation into the world.
Get more practices and tips by downloading the Healthy Minds Program App, freely available thanks to the generosity of our donors wherever you get your apps.