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Author Topic: Moving meditation & exercise, etc?  (Read 7076 times)
KHarkless
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« Topic Start: June 26, 2009, 02:41:21 am »

So...I am one of those people who cannot meditate without having something to think about. I can't turn my brain off; it will get distracted by even the slightest change in environment. I recently spent several months working in a very remote area that was also exceedingly quiet--during the day, I could rest assured knowing there was not another human being within a 5-mile radius, most of the time even more. I would try to meditate sometimes, when it wasn't too hot and the wind was still, and it was the quietest place you could possibly conceive of--yet I'd still get distracted, if not by my own thoughts (and I was extremely un-stressed then), then by the extremely faint sound of a rare car on the highway 7 miles away, or a slight change in air pressure. Needless to say, since I normally live in a large city, tuning out all senses is pretty difficult and I have a hard time meditating. Yoga classes are kind of a wash for me; I stare at the floor and think about the floorboards too much during the meditations.

Anyway, I do exercise a lot. Some of it requires a fair amount of concentration (bike commuting, f'ex) but when I'm at the gym, I can get into a good rhythm on the treadmill or cross-trainer, put on some music, close my eyes, and completely zone out--and after a while I get a hit of endorphins, so happy times, it's a bit of an ecstatic state, but I don't know what to do with it. I think it has something to do with the rhythmic motion, though, as the other times I've reached the same state have either been when I'm dancing or singing.

Hmmm. So I guess I'm asking, does anyone do any kind of meditation while moving or immediately afterward? What do you focus on? Suggestions for resources? Similar experiences? Any thoughts are welcome. Smiley

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« Reply #1: June 26, 2009, 09:05:27 am »

I guess I'm asking, does anyone do any kind of meditation while moving or immediately afterward? What do you focus on? Suggestions for resources? Similar experiences? Any thoughts are welcome. Smiley

Singing and playing music is a big part of my meditiations. It took a long time for me to be able to even attempt silent meditation. I'd suggest looking into Tai Chi. From what little I know about the philosophy behind it, it's big on channeling and moving energy and the slow, controlled movements might help keep your brain chatter occupied.
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« Reply #2: June 26, 2009, 10:01:02 am »

Singing and playing music is a big part of my meditiations. It took a long time for me to be able to even attempt silent meditation. I'd suggest looking into Tai Chi. From what little I know about the philosophy behind it, it's big on channeling and moving energy and the slow, controlled movements might help keep your brain chatter occupied.

I also suck at sitting meditation, although I do try and do some every day. But I love this
http://www.gabrielleroth.com/

There are 5Rhythms studios all over the world. It's the best moving meditation I've even found, besides yoga.
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  The power of Air,
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  And the power of Earth,
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« Reply #3: June 26, 2009, 10:38:41 am »

So I guess I'm asking, does anyone do any kind of meditation while moving or immediately afterward? What do you focus on? Suggestions for resources? Similar experiences? Any thoughts are welcome. Smiley

It's probably not all that unusual to do so with yoga, which I do.  When I'm being all organized and disciplined, I do sun salutations in the morning and moon salutations at night as part of my morning and evening meditations.  And even at the gym, I find the movements meditative in and of themselves, plus there's time specifically for meditation at the end, though they often spoil it by trying to do a bunch of guided stuff when I pretty much just want to peace out.
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« Reply #4: June 26, 2009, 08:51:26 pm »


From what I know, the point of meditation is not to zone out but to tune in.  You're not supposed to ignore everything and think nothing, because that's impossible.  Meditation is just an exercise of noticing. 

What you may try is sitting cross-legged on the floor, or on a chair if you have back problems.  Relax and just notice your breath.  If thoughts distract you to the point that you get hooked and 5 minutes go by without you realizing, gently notice that you are thinking, and let the thought float away.  Return to your breath.  Let yourself hear everything going around you, but don't punish yourself if you drift off.  Always come back to the breath.  If you find yourself hooked again, don't push the thought away with violence, just notice you were hooked and let it float away.  This will happen  many times within the span of a few minutes. Smiley 

If there are times when you start thinking about a memory that has been especially painful or angering to you, and find it impossible to let it go, let yourself sit and feel all the emotion this memory brings you, be present in it, don't push it away and try to ignore it.  What matters most is being in the moment.  Let yourself ride it out until you can finally let the memory go and come back to your breath. 

I suggest you start out with only 5 minutes a day, and if you find you can sit longer, go ahead and do so.  This isn't a contest, this is something you are doing for yourself, so don't push yourself to do more or grade yourself on how well you sat that day.  There will always be different opportunities.

The point of this is not only relaxation, but noticing the tendency of our minds to never be present.  We always want to be in the past, in the future, or in a reality of our making.  If we accept the reality we are in at the present moment, we will be on our way to letting go of rejection and judgment.  This will ultimately bring peace.
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« Reply #5: June 26, 2009, 10:11:14 pm »

Hmmm. So I guess I'm asking, does anyone do any kind of meditation while moving or immediately afterward? What do you focus on? Suggestions for resources? Similar experiences? Any thoughts are welcome. Smiley

I'm no good at silent meditation either. I almost always have to have guided or moving.

In the winter when it was harder to get outside, I would walk/run on my mom's treadmill for an hour a day. I would set on some music that wouldn't distract me and after I got into a rhythm I would focus on a color starting with red and working my way through the rainbow, ending with white. I would run for as long as I could focus on white then do my cool down as I went back down through the rainbow.

I got the color meditation from the Meditation Podcast which is supposed to work well for sleep, but it worked equally well for getting my mind out of the equation as I exercised, kind of a chance to reboot. Helped me get to sleep faster too.

There are days when I'll ask everyone not to bother me for a while, turn on some music, and lose myself to dancing. That works well too.
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« Reply #6: June 26, 2009, 11:02:49 pm »


There are days when I'll ask everyone not to bother me for a while, turn on some music, and lose myself to dancing. That works well too.

you would *love the 5 rhythms, I bet
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Goddess grant me:
  The power of Water,
  to accept with ease & grace what I cannot change.

  The power of Fire,
  for the energy & courage to change the things I can.

  The power of Air,
  for the ability and wisdom to know the difference.

  And the power of Earth,
  for the strength to continue my path.

http://rosejayadal.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #7: June 27, 2009, 03:38:20 am »

I'd suggest looking into Tai Chi. From what little I know about the philosophy behind it, it's big on channeling and moving energy and the slow, controlled movements might help keep your brain chatter occupied.
That or maybe Kung Fu? In your case I'd go for a school which focuses on forms/performances rather than combat training. There's a certain spiritual focus in going through a form/performance. Every form has its own spirit you connect to while practicing it and you seem to enjoy stuff with harder physical work. Taiji Quan goes a similar way, but it's mostly practiced slow and meditative (unless you go for Chen style). Kung Fu has more of an ecstatic component in my experience. It's all very controlled though. If you are interested in pure ecstacy you might want to look into trance-dance or something similar. But the controll in martial arts is very good if you're inexperienced IMO or need the controll for other reasons.
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« Reply #8: June 28, 2009, 10:33:17 pm »

So...I am one of those people who cannot meditate without having something to think about. I can't turn my brain off; it will get distracted by even the slightest change in environment. I recently spent several months working in a very remote area that was also exceedingly quiet--during the day, I could rest assured knowing there was not another human being within a 5-mile radius, most of the time even more. I would try to meditate sometimes, when it wasn't too hot and the wind was still, and it was the quietest place you could possibly conceive of--yet I'd still get distracted, if not by my own thoughts (and I was extremely un-stressed then), then by the extremely faint sound of a rare car on the highway 7 miles away, or a slight change in air pressure. Needless to say, since I normally live in a large city, tuning out all senses is pretty difficult and I have a hard time meditating. Yoga classes are kind of a wash for me; I stare at the floor and think about the floorboards too much during the meditations.

Anyway, I do exercise a lot. Some of it requires a fair amount of concentration (bike commuting, f'ex) but when I'm at the gym, I can get into a good rhythm on the treadmill or cross-trainer, put on some music, close my eyes, and completely zone out--and after a while I get a hit of endorphins, so happy times, it's a bit of an ecstatic state, but I don't know what to do with it. I think it has something to do with the rhythmic motion, though, as the other times I've reached the same state have either been when I'm dancing or singing.

Hmmm. So I guess I'm asking, does anyone do any kind of meditation while moving or immediately afterward? What do you focus on? Suggestions for resources? Similar experiences? Any thoughts are welcome. Smiley



KHarkless

I bought a book a few years ago called T'ai Chi Ch'uan & Meditation by Da Liu that I just started reading a few nights ago.

From what I can see so far, the author's point is that both meditation and exercise benefit from one another and work much more effectively from using them back and forth. He says that after physical exercise the mind is calm and clear and that that is the best time for meditation with the least distractions and likewise after meditation your energy is up and you're eager to be active. (Sorry if I'm repeating myself).

Anyways, I read your post and thought the book might be useful to you too. You should look it up, maybe it can help.

Good Luck.

- Manny
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« Reply #9: June 29, 2009, 02:57:46 am »

Anyways, I read your post and thought the book might be useful to you too. You should look it up, maybe it can help.
I wouldn't try to learn it from a book because it's hard to correct your own postures and difficult to correct mistakes you've taught yourself later. It's not too hard to find a class where you could learn it.
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« Reply #10: June 30, 2009, 12:53:39 am »

I wouldn't try to learn it from a book because it's hard to correct your own postures and difficult to correct mistakes you've taught yourself later. It's not too hard to find a class where you could learn it.

Waldfrau

I didn't mean learning T'ai Chi from the book so much as that the author lists reasons for difficulty meditating and gives advice on how to improve meditation(as well as rundowns on different kinds of meditation). The author doesn't suggest T'ai Chi only, just exercise in general to aid in meditation.

Hopefully this didn't come off as defensive, I just wanted to make myself clear or correct myself if I sounded like I meant something different.

- Manny
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« Reply #11: June 30, 2009, 01:36:05 am »

I didn't mean learning T'ai Chi from the book so much as that the author lists reasons for difficulty meditating and gives advice on how to improve meditation(as well as rundowns on different kinds of meditation). The author doesn't suggest T'ai Chi only, just exercise in general to aid in meditation.
Yeah, you didn't say that, but you didn't say the opposite either, so I just wanted to advise against it. No offense meant. I've taught Taiji Chuan and I can't imagine a beginner learning only from a book.
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« Reply #12: June 30, 2009, 02:43:29 am »

KHarkless

I bought a book a few years ago called T'ai Chi Ch'uan & Meditation by Da Liu that I just started reading a few nights ago.

From what I can see so far, the author's point is that both meditation and exercise benefit from one another and work much more effectively from using them back and forth. He says that after physical exercise the mind is calm and clear and that that is the best time for meditation with the least distractions and likewise after meditation your energy is up and you're eager to be active. (Sorry if I'm repeating myself).

Anyways, I read your post and thought the book might be useful to you too. You should look it up, maybe it can help.

Good Luck.

- Manny

Thanks, this is actually the sort of thing I was looking for. The other problem I often have with trying to meditate is that I'll attempt to be free of distractions by doing it right before bed. I do tend to be less distracted then, but then I find myself falling asleep. Having more energy is probably a good idea.  Smiley
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« Reply #13: June 30, 2009, 03:36:54 pm »

Yeah, you didn't say that, but you didn't say the opposite either, so I just wanted to advise against it. No offense meant. I've taught Taiji Chuan and I can't imagine a beginner learning only from a book.

Waldfrau

No harm done.

But I have to admit that I myself am reading the book with the intentions of practicing T'ai Chi myself  Lips sealed .

I'm happy to hear your opinion on that being as you taught it. Maybe I won't try and teach myself, but I don't know. I can't afford to take classes for anything now and I'm not sure if they're even being taught around where I live. I know they teach yoga classes, but it's mostly upper middleclass house wives, and I wouldn't feel comfortable there even if I could afford it.

Thanks, this is actually the sort of thing I was looking for. The other problem I often have with trying to meditate is that I'll attempt to be free of distractions by doing it right before bed. I do tend to be less distracted then, but then I find myself falling asleep. Having more energy is probably a good idea.  Smiley

Kharkless

No problem mana. So far the book has put some things into perspective for me and changed the way I thought of both meditation and exercise. Da Liu makes some very good points.

My situation was almost opposite . . . I started trying to meditate to calm my thoughts so I could overcome my insomnia  Cheesy. My body would be exhausted, but my mind was still racing.

Good luck.

- Manny
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« Reply #14: June 30, 2009, 05:21:41 pm »

Singing and playing music is a big part of my meditiations. It took a long time for me to be able to even attempt silent meditation. I'd suggest looking into Tai Chi. From what little I know about the philosophy behind it, it's big on channeling and moving energy and the slow, controlled movements might help keep your brain chatter occupied.

I suggest Tai Chi as well.  I know several people who can not meditate the standard way.  Tai Chi works well for them because they get the benifit of the meditation and the benifit of being active at the same time
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