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Mindful : August 2014
August 2014 mindful 43 From walking around in a circle in a meditation hall to going for a walk in the park to running or yoga or tai chi, mindful movement gets us out of our heads and into our bodies—and the world around us. One of the greatest challenges in daily life is moving from Point A to Point B and remaining awa re of where you are. Sim- ple, right? But honestly how often do you find yourself a little bit lost in the middle of rushing around? Mindful movement practices—ranging from walking med- itation to running to yoga, qigong, and martial arts—can provide a good bridge between still, seated meditation and the hectic activity of daily life. Sitting meditation can tend to draw us inward. Getting up a nd moving—while still maintaining meditative attention— can turn our focus more outward. It can remind us that mindfulness is not some- thing that simply happens in a little space around our chair and all from the neck up. Moving while meditating helps us develop awareness throughout our body, which is why, for example, Mindfulness- Based Stress Reduction includes walking meditation and a series of simple yoga postures as a vital part of the program. Maintaining even a little awa reness as we move through the world can enrich our daily experience and anchor us during emotional storms. Steady practice enables us to manage increased inten- sity—a difficult conversation, a crisis, a challenging campaig n—more skillfully. Instead of responding to highly charged situations by tensing up our body, we ca n learn to handle emotional situations with more ease and grace. Generations of yoga and martial arts practitioners attest to the value of gaining more mastery of how energy moves through our body. In these pages, we begin with the most basic of the mindful movement practices: walking. It’s the first move from still meditation to meditation-in-action. We’ll present the details of a classic walking meditation practice and a few variations. After that, yoga teacher Cyndi Lee presents a series of simple movements you can do in conjunction with sitting meditation practice. To top it off, we polled our readers about the mindful movement practices you do regularly. A few readers offer their thoughts about why the particular practice they do means so much to them. OM YOGA: A GUIDE TO DAILY PRACTICE By Cyndi Lee Straightfor ward and direct, this book helps readers star t and advance their yoga practice at home with a series of well-designed routines. THE HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL GUIDE TO TAI CHI By Peter Wayne A scientific look at the way contemplative exercises can improve your health. The book also offers a simplified version of tai chi for beginners. Books to Get You Moving Getting Started: Movement was compiled by Barry Boyce, editor-in-chief of Mindful, in consultation with: Richard Brown, co -chair, Contemplative Education, Naropa University, and a founder of CARE for Teachers at Garrison Institute. Cyndi Lee, founder of OM Yoga and author most recently of May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind. Wendy Palmer, founder of Leadership Embodiment, which uses aikido and mindfulness principles to help leaders respond better to stress. Kaitlin Quistgaard, media consultant and former editor-in-chief of Yo g a Journal, who sits on the board of Headstand, a yoga and mindfulness program for impoverished youth. THE INTUITIVE BODY: DISCOVERING THE WISDOM OF CONSCIOUS EMBODIMENT AND AIKIDO By Wendy Palmer We can better know ourselves through body movement, and Palmer suggests aikido can be a key prac tice for doing that.