The benefits of mindful movement
Walking during your lunch break. Doing yoga for a half-hour. Standing up and stretching. Taking a deep breath in, and a deep breath out before you start a stressful conversation. These, and other mindful movements get you out of your head and into your body.
Mindfulness isn’t only about sitting still and focusing on your breath. Mindfully walking or running, doing yoga, or any type of movement can help you be more aware of your body — and this can offer you important information. Do your shoulders creep up when you feel tense? Do you clench your teeth when you worry?
Becoming more aware of your body helps you navigate life. With practice, for example, you can stay even and calm during a difficult conversation or a challenge at work. If you notice that your shoulders are tensing and your body is stiffening when you encounter a stressful situation, by simply taking a few deep breaths, you’ll be able to handle things more calmly.
Body awareness also helps you become more aware of — and enjoy — the times when you feel good. It can give you that burst of energy that allows you to walk or jog a bit longer. You can wake up feeling alert and excited about your day. You can feel easy and comfortable spending time with an old friend. Your body constantly provides signals about how you feel. Paying attention and responding to these signals can help you be in the world with more presence.
Reviewed by Kaiser Permanente Clinical Ambassadors, including Mark Dreskin, MD, Sharon Smith, LPC, and/or David Kane, LCSW. September 2018.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.