Do you ever drive from point A to point B, not remembering how you got there? You were unaware of the turns you took, the colors you saw, and the obstacles you faced. This is the result of monkey mind: the state of mind which swings between the troubles of the past and the expectations of the future. To set this monkey free and live presently we can move mindfully throughout our day, expressing gratitude for each moment.
Mindful movements are small rituals you can engage with every day to train the mind, body, and spirit to reside in the present. Mindfulness is a term that has circulated the wellness community for decades now. It signifies a state of consciousness in the present and is used as a way to ground down when the mind begins to wander.
So, why would we want to live mindfully? When you are feeling immense guilt or shame about a decision in the past, you are unable to move beyond these negative feelings to honor the positivity around you in the present. Similarly, when you are future tripping about an obstacle down the road, you are unable to acknowledge the beautiful view along the way. Mindful movements allow us to live in the present and let go of the past and future.
We can take the idea of mindfulness and apply it to our movements in a willingness to continue an active lifestyle that is grounded in the present moment. A simple way to move mindfully every day is to take mindful walks. In taking a mindful walk, it is important to unplug from devices and reconnect with your surroundings. The first step to feeling this connection is to focus on the feet. Bring your awareness to the points of contact between your feet and the ground beneath you, feel your weight shifting from your heels, to the balls of your feet, to your toes.
Next, you can begin to integrate the breath into your awareness, rhythmically connecting your steps with your inhales and exhales. You may take four steps with each inhale and five steps with each exhale, continuing to follow a pattern between your steps and your breath. The number of steps you take with each breath depends on how quickly you are moving, and you may find over time that the speed of your movements begins to slow down. Then, you invite the five senses into your walk.
Beginning with sight, you may notice features around you that you have never seen before, the different types of clouds in the sky, or the way the sun shimmers between leaves as you walk under a tree. Then you may notice sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings. It is important to always end your five senses check-in by noticing what you feel. By the end of your check-in, you will feel grounded and connected to the present moment; in order to remember your mindful walk as a positive ritual, it is helpful to connect with your feelings in this state of consciousness.
This is a way to train ourselves to return to mindful movements when monkey mind arises.
Another way to engage with mindful movements that requires little physical activity is mindful drying. Mindful drying is the act of air drying your body after bathing, as opposed to towel drying. It is easy to relax and connect with the mind, body, and spirit in a warm shower or bath. But, when we leave the water, we leave this sense of relaxation and connection to be funneled down the drain. Why not take this connection between yourself and the present with you as you leave your time of bathing?
Mindful drying is a conscious alternative to less present routines we follow after we step out of the water. Before engaging in mindful drying, I would jump out of the shower, dry my hair, and do my make up as I mumbled to myself through the mirror all of the things I needed to do later that day. I would think about an embarrassing act I committed in the past and turn to my closet to dress the part of a new person, someone who would no longer do embarrassing or shameful things.
This was what my monkey mind looked like after a morning shower. In order to set the monkey free, I began to slow down the transition from my time in the shower to the start of my day. To practice mindful drying, after getting out of the shower or bath you can set a towel down on the floor or on a chair. You may turn off the lights or invite in natural light as you take a seat and close the eyes. From here you can turn your attention to the points of contact between your body and the floor or chair supporting you.
Next, begin to focus on the sensation of the water rolling down your body. You may find it helpful to think of five words to describe this sensation. Notice the feelings of different temperatures, positive feelings, feelings of discomfort, feelings of balance or imbalance. Then you may begin to focus on the breath, lengthening your inhales and exhale. You can inhale the sensations you labeled and exhaling the feeling of water moving down and away from the body. You can continue to breathe in this pattern until you feel dry and complete in your practice.
When you have completed this practice, it is helpful to check-in with the mind, body, and spirit, realizing that it is possible to take your connection with the present beyond bathing time and into your daily life. Mindful drying, this transition between your time of bathing and the start of your day, trains your mind to connect with the present and set the monkey within your mind free.
Although only two examples of mindful movements were given in this article, it is possible to integrate mindfulness into all of your movements, both within the body and the physical realm. After a few days of mindful walking, you may find yourself mindfully moving down the aisles at the grocery store or through the halls at your place of work. Continue to invite mindfulness into your life and allow yourself to live presently. When you are conscious and aware of the present moment, you can give gratitude and compassion to your surroundings, creating a life of meaningful connection and pure bliss.
Learn more about Mindful Movements Here!
For a limited time, I will be launching an extended course about Mindful Movements exclusively for a select group where I will walk you through awesome ways to manifest mindfulness in each present moment, allowing you to move through life blissfully.
Let me know in the comments if you’d like a special invite.
by: Cailin Dendas
I would like to introduce myself here; I am a yoga teacher who is trying to spread light and love through Instagram.
This is a crazy world we live in, especially in these trying times, but we can all connect and support each other virtually through movement! Join me on this journey to find peace and bliss in this present moment.