These kinds of meditations include yoga, tai chi, qi kung and even dance. In each of these, the body is moved in precise ways, often in coordination with the breath, and done in a way that focuses and quiets the mind. These meditations bring the body-mind into harmony and unity.
Mind-body meditations involve moving the body in specific ways that require a high degree of concentration. The inhalation and exhalation of the breath is usually coordinated with movement in these kinds of meditations, and the breath serves as a link between the mind and body.
While mind-body meditations may also be thought of as exercises, they are different from other exercises such as running, aerobics, and weight-lifting, in that mental focus and quietude are purposefully cultivated during the movement of the forms. In traditional exercises such as running, swimming, and weight-lifting, it is possible to allow the mind to engage in a multitude of thoughts, emotions and activities while doing the exercise. However, in forms such as yoga and tai chi, a higher degree of mental concentration is required to execute the movements. Mind-body meditations also function to bring greater peace, clarity and stillness to the mind.
Mind-body meditations are a gateway to experiencing our natural state of pure awareness, which is devoid of the constant and insistent activities of the emotions and thinking mind.
Watching the breath, and coordinating the in and out breath with specific movements of the body, are also a primary feature of mind-body meditations. Additionally, practices such as yoga and tai chi exist within philosophical systems that point the way to cultivating mindfulness in our everyday life.
Meditation is a kind of discipline for the mind, not simply a physical routine for the body. In mind-body meditations, the movements are a kind of training for the mind, as much as they are a physical routine for the body.
Mind-Body Meditation Characteristics
1. Use precise movements that require a high degree of mental focus and concentration
2. Coordinate the movement of the body with the breath cycles
3. Train and cultivate the mind in a way that leads to greater awareness and mindfulness
Mind-body meditations are a great place
to begin meditating.
Through consciously moving the body, we are training the mind to focus in new ways which cultivate greater concentration, contemplation, and meditative awareness. However, it is also helpful to understand the limitations of these types of meditation, as they may not necessarily lead to the higher states of pure awareness.
While mind-body meditations develop a greater sense of unity between the mind and body, they may not dissolve ego boundaries and identifications like other forms of meditation do.
Moving the body as is done in mind-body meditations, can also create limitations on entering into deep states of silence and stillness, which are characteristic of deeper meditative states. So while mind-body meditations dissolve artificial boundaries and dualisms between the mind and body, they may not have the greatest capacity to dissolve boundaries and dualisms that exist within one's consciousness. For this other meditation techniques are required that are more specific for working on our inner subjective state of awareness. We will discuss these shortly, but first let's discuss the next level of meditations that I call the subtle body meditations.
Continue reading more about meditation.
Subtle Energy Meditations
Insight Based Meditations