Reprinted with the kind permission of Sue Ingebretson and Rebuilding Wellness
Moving meditations can help your chronic illness brain and body to heal. Moving your body in healthy ways calms the stress centers of the brain making tai chi, yoga, and qigong excellent choices for overall widespread healing.
My Critical Editor’s Take on Moving Meditations
When I wrote the draft of my book, FibroWHYalgia,* many years ago and sent it off to an editor, I didn’t know what to expect. I had some super-grammarian friends proof it so I didn’t expect much in the way of spelling and punctuation.
What I didn’t expect was an editorial kibosh on my segment on tai chi. Apparently, when I discussed tai chi in my book, I went on and on about it. My editor said something to the effect of, “All right already – you like tai chi!”
I’m glad I followed her guidelines and whittled that chapter down. No need to bonk everyone over the head with it. But my passion hasn’t changed.
Many years ago in my early fibromyalgia recovery days, l made some pretty profound discoveries.
I learned that:
- It matters what I put in my body (food).
- It matters how I move my body (fitness/meditations).
- It matters how I think about my recovery (optimism, hope, sense of purpose, etc.)
Yep. They’re pretty basic.
The purpose of this short article is to explain why moving the body in soothing, healthy ways can invite and even encourage whole body healing.
Moving Meditations Discovery
Does moving the body in slow-mo look silly to you? It sure did to me when I started tai chi classes in 2006 or so. I was so impatient, I couldn’t wait for class to finish. I ran grocery lists in my head while I did it and felt it was a big waste of my time.
And, since time was in short supply, I wasn’t going to give it much of a chance.
The instructor was nice enough (and she was full of fascinating stories of her life’s adventures) but she was absolutely nonchalant about getting me to “buy-in” to the beauty of tai chi. When I asked about the timing of things, and when I could expect to see benefits, she just kept saying, “Soon.”
It’s a good thing that the class was free, and so was I at that time of day.
Tai chi was a fallback decision for me. The other classes I wanted to take at my gym (strength-training, muscle toning, etc.) were offered early in the morning. Too early. Since my fibromyalgia pain was at its peak, early mornings were out of the question.
Tai chi was offered at a reasonable 11:00 am.
I ended up making a few friends and decided it was just good to get out of my writing schedule and go to this class. I stuck with it week after week.
The instructor grew on me. I learned to see her quiet self-assurance and wisdom. (And, to this day, I’m proud to refer to her as one of my closest friends.)
And, then it happened.
One day, maybe a few months later, I was doing a qigong move called “Hands Like Clouds.” The sun was shining in the windows and as my hand gently moved in front of me, I noticed the sun’s rays on my hand and how it reflected in my sapphire ring.
It was no big deal.
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I just noticed how the sun made prisms of color across my hand. I thought it was weird to notice that, and then I also noticed that my stomach didn’t hurt (at that time in my life my stomach always hurt). I noticed a very definite absence of anxiety.
That was pretty exciting.
But of course, as soon as I noticed it, the anxiety came back. I started to think about my to-do’s and deadlines and worries. That was my familiar zone.
Even though I didn’t know it, I’d been introduced to an unfamiliar path. One that’s calm, relaxed, and has no agenda.
I had absolutely NO idea that even existed.
From that point on, I tried to re-create that little blip of calm. I tried forcing it, seeking it out and cajoling it. I had a lot to learn.
Over time, of course, I learned to let things be. I learned to enjoy the calm moments when they come and let go of the expectations. I learned some pretty amazing things about letting go.
And, I learned them all in my tai chi class.
Here are the basics of what moving meditations can provide.
Moving Meditation Basics
Healing modalities such as tai chi, some yoga, and qigong offer these benefits:
- They move the body in ways that work within your own range of motion. They don’t over-stretch, over-reach, or over-extend your joints or muscles.
- They help to relax the mind by giving the body soothing, non-thinking, and gentle poses to follow. A relaxed mind sends healing signals throughout the body that say, “All’s well.”
- They build core strength by working the body in a low center of gravity. This can be tailored to each person to their own abilities and desires.
- They can help to restore and/or improve a sense of balance and mobility.
- They can – through whole body relaxation – invite healthy deep breathing, help to lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, improve digestion, and even foster a greater sense of hope and optimism.
- And, so much more.
Finding Moving Meditation Options Near You
Finding classes is so much easier today than it was a dozen years ago. Most cities offer classes for no or low cost. You may also look into classes offered at churches, city civic centers, and senior centers.
And, here’s a tip. Don’t be afraid to look into classes at senior centers if you’re not “of age.” Most will gladly accept students with health challenges and/or limited mobility issues.
Now that you know the benefits, which will you try? Which are already your favorites?
I hope you’re enjoying this series prompted by my 5 Fibro Stress Strategies article.
And, be sure to follow others in this important series:
*If purchases are made through this Amazon link I may earn a few pennies which help to defray the costs of operating this ad-free site. Thank you!
Sue Ingebretson is the Natural Healing Editor for ProHealth.com as well as a frequent contributor to ProHealth’s Fibromyalgia site. She’s an Amazon best-selling author, speaker, and workshop leader. Additionally, Sue is an Integrative Nutrition & Health Coach, a Certified Nutritional Therapist, a Master NLP Practitioner, and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. You can find out more and contact Sue at www.RebuildingWellness.com.