Movement for Well-Being
Mindful Movement is essential for physical health and psychological well-being. Frequently, when the topic of movement for health becomes part of a conversation, people immediately interpret the word movement for the word ‘exercise’. This, of course, typically elicits groans, either because exercise is not fun and desirable or because there is not enough time in the day to get the desired amount of exercise.
I like to remind people, that while it is important to strengthen your body and maintain a level of physical fitness that will allow an increased potential for mobility and ease in later years, it is equally important to just simply move your body in a variety of ways.
What are Mindful Movement Practices?
Dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, any type of activity that includes a mindful quality and allows for an unregimented flow of movement will increase your potential for health and well-being exponentially.
Mindful movement practices increase joint mobility, flexibility, proprioception, nervous system tone, as well as strengthen the heart, and boost your mood. Additionally, research suggests that simple movements like walking or QiGong increase healthful longevity by sending a message of vitality to your body and brain.
Exercise is great. Building muscle strength and protecting bone health is essential. But rigorous exercise isn’t always the best thing for every body.
Believe it or not, regimented exercise can actually have a downside for mental health and well-being. For some people, especially those individuals in high-stress lifestyles, continuous linear movement, counted and regimented timing can lead to obsessive or compulsive brain activity, which in turn increases stress levels. Increased stress levels make it difficult to lose weight, decrease inflammation, sleep well, and all the other things that go hand in hand with optimal wellness.
In situations like this, it is far better to slow it down and engage in random, flowing movement patterns. Put some music on and allow it to move your body and ease your mind. No dance steps, no guidelines, no counting, no censoring… just flow. The beautiful thing about including mindful movement in your life on a daily basis is that you don't have to know what you're doing, nor do you have to be able to walk or stand or put on particular clothing... you simply tune in to your body and allow it to flow.
Ayurveda and Movement
Following an Ayurvedic Lifestyle encourages you to consider your dosha (body type) or your doshic imbalances when deciding what types of mindful movement or exercise to engage in at any given time. This can be a very helpful practice to maintaining body, mind, and spirit balance and harmony.