I used to swim daily in the warm ocean waters of La Jolla California. I remember my body felt light, buoyed by the salt water and the lapping waves. As I turned my face into the cold ocean I saw tendrils of seaweed reaching towards me from the dark recesses of the ocean floor. The rhythm of my breath was the prominent sound and my mind became singularly focused on reaching the buoy in the far distance. For years I practiced this daily ritual and yet if someone asked if I meditated I would say, “no, I can’t sit still long enough.” This rather narrow perspective was altered when I studied the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. He practices walking meditation and explains there are many opportunities throughout the day to reach deep meditative states by simply observing the subtle body through breath and mindful presence.
Years later, when I moved to the Central California where the ocean water is an average frigid 57 degrees, I gave up ocean swimming for dance. Here too, I found an opportunity to go into a deep state of meditation. My teacher, Arjuna Vinn Marti, describes the inner spiral and teaches a simple technique he calls the ABCDs. Assemble, Breathe, recognize that motion is Circular and when you are ready, Dissolve. Through this practice the dancer discovers an inner resonance unique to themselves which ultimately expresses itself in the dance.
Whether your movement is dancing, running or gardening, by bringing conscious breath and focused awareness to your activities, you can achieve deeper meditative states which can help to reduce stress, improve concentration, elevate mood, improve sleep…the benefits are multitude and varied but the proof is in, meditation enhances well being and changes brain function. So if, like me, you are a person in motion, stop, breath, pay attention and reach a whole new level of performance both physically, emotionally and spiritually. Namaste.