Ways to Meditate When You Can't Sit Still

Updated on November 9, 2017
WiccanSage profile image

Sage has been a witch for 25 years. She enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the craft of the wise.

Trouble Meditating?

There are just some people who can't sit still long enough to meditate. Just trying to sit still and find a calm center fills them with stress and anxiety, and they find themselves fidgeting and fussing until they just can't take it anymore. The longer they try to sit still, the further from a meditative state they get.

If this is you, I bet being constantly bombarded with advice to meditate can be frustrating. Usually, the only answer people have for you when you admit you can't get the hang of it is to "try harder." I wouldn't be surprised if you want to say, "Shut up with the meditations already!"

Guess what—you don't have to sit still to meditate. It's possible to get into a meditative state of mind when your body is in motion as well. A moving meditation can give you all the benefits that anyone can reap by sitting in the lotus position for a half hour every day.

Move While Meditating

move while meditating
move while meditating | Source

Tell Us About It:

Has your inability to sit still impeded your ability to meditate?

See results

Training Your Mind

Source

Understanding the Meditative State of Mind

There are four states of consciousness: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. The Beta state is when you're fully awake and alert. The Theta state is for sleeping, dreaming, and deep trances. The Delta state is deep, usually dreamless sleep or comatose.

The Alpha state is the one you really need to understand. You're in Alpha when you're daydreaming, when you're "out of it" or "zoning out" on a boring task, when you're watching television, or in a light sleep. You're also in Alpha when you're completely engrossed in something—a video game, a game of tennis, a good book, playing an instrument, making a craft, etc.. You know you're 100% living in the moment when you don't notice time and your mind is fixated on the task.

If you've ever had doubts as to whether you can achieve a state of mind for meditation, realize that you already do. That state is Alpha, and it's a state you pass in and out of all day long. It's a natural state of being.

As you can see, you don't need to sit still like a statue with your eyes closed to achieve Alpha, a meditative state. You can also achieve it when in motion.

Ways to Meditate in Motion

  • doing a daily yoga routine
  • tai chi
  • practicing karate katas
  • dancing
  • walking
  • jogging
  • art—painting, drawing, etc.
  • playing an instrument
  • playing video games (ideally not-too-difficult puzzle games on 'zen mode')
  • crafts: knitting, crocheting, paper folding, weaving, anything rhythmic
  • mundane chores: washing dishes, folding laundry, scrubbing floors, washing windows, etc.
  • exercise: stationary bike, weightlifting, elliptical machine, etc.
  • step climbing
  • practicing a sport
  • playing a game

Walking Meditation

Source

How to Choose Your Activity

  • It should be something that engages you, something to draw your focus into the moment
  • It should be something that holds your focus for an extended period of time; 15 to 30 minutes per day is ideal
  • It should be something that's continuous, fluid, methodical, repetitive, etc., so the movements become automatic and it's almost hypnotic
  • It should be something you can keep on hand or have access to every day

For example, jamming on your guitar for 20 minutes each day is a good way to meditate if you let yourself just go with the flow. Learning a song where you have to keep looking at the sheet music, where you're making mistakes, or you have to check your technique constantly, breaks focus too much to be good for a meditation.

Walking at a steady pace through the park, putting your attention on your breath, noticing the way the sun feels on your skin, experiencing the way the breeze tousles your hair, examining the trees, the leaves, the clouds—that is a mindful moment. Walking while waving to neighbors, thinking about what to make for dinner, or how you're going to pay a bill, stopping and going through traffic, cursing the heat, etc., is not very conducive to meditation.

It's all about the state of mind you're able to achieve—one of mindfulness, of living in the moment, of relaxed awareness—that turns an activity from just something to do into a meditation session.

What About You?

Have you been meditating more than you realized?

See results

I Bet You Meditate More Than You Think

Think back now to all those mindful moments—I bet you have been meditating all along and you didn't even know it. Most likely, the only difference now will be that you're aware of it, and you do certain activities with the deliberate decision to meditate in mind. You might even schedule them regularly from now on.

Another pleasant thing to note is that motion meditations, or moving meditations, can enhance your rituals or magical practices. Magic and spirituality are also activities that we want to do in the Alpha state. People who are not used to meditating in motion can have more difficulty achieving Alpha without stopping and sitting still for a little while. You'll be able to slip right into it when you're gathering your stuff or setting up the altar.

So don't give up hope just because you're fidgety. It doesn't mean you can't meditate; you just have to learn to do it in new ways that are probably contrary to what you've already been told. As you become more adept at meditation while moving, you'll find yourself able to achieve that state of mind more easily even when you finally do want to try to sit still.

Is This You?

Source

Tai Chi for Beginners:

© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Maria 

      5 weeks ago

      Would reading count as meditating?

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 months ago

      Never played but that's good to know, thanks!

    • Pale Thanatos profile image

      Pale Thanatos 

      4 months ago

      The Bejeweled app on Zen mode is amazing for meditating. Includes ambient sounds, mantras and breathing cues.

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 months ago

      Beautifully put :o)

    • Ladyluck866 profile image

      Kim Ackerman 

      6 months ago from San Francisco

      I have been meditate long time. 43 years i chant a word. There are words for each plane, or rulers Physical, Astral, Causal, Mental, Etheric, and Soul planes. I have believe that I have recarnation over and over as man & woman. And believe soul never dies. Only your physical form. And are purpose is to become a perfect and soul. Meditate is a very special thing and you need in your life. It help you step back and see yourself from another view point for how ever long you wish to Devote to it. You get to work out thing that need to work out in the spirit world ask for help and organizing yourself

    • profile image

      Wizard 

      9 months ago

      Thanks for such a great article. But I need a help. Can I meditate while I am cycling? Because I cycle for about 1 & 1\2 hour regularly. Thanks!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      10 months ago

      Hope this sheds a new light on it Beth, you're going to be fine, keep at it!

    • profile image

      Beth 

      10 months ago

      This was really enlightening...I was feeling like an abject failure when it comes to meditation! Thank you so much!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      14 months ago

      I remember those days, with the little ones underfoot, and you forget how it feels to go to the bathroom without being interrupted, lol. Totally understand your challenges. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Mystiedb3 

      14 months ago

      i cant thank you enough,i am new but ive been drawn to the craft since i could talk, ive been studying alot but never can meditate cause i have kids and im never alone. thank you, i have leaned so much from you!!!

    • profile image

      Gmr66 

      16 months ago

      I've been listening how to relax when meditating and I can get my body to relax and feel heavy but every time I try to see anything it seems I keep falling asleep do you have any tips on not falling asleep and why do I keep doing that.

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Your welcome Harmony, I'm glad you're getting the hang of it. Just keep practicing!

    • profile image

      HarmonySMASH 

      3 years ago

      Thanks WiccanSage! I tried again (this time I looked up the words for Air I Am first) and I know I was doing it right. I get what you mean when you say a relaxed state of awareness, now! I feel content and I will definitely be meditating again, thank you WiccanSage!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Hi Harmony, yes I understand what you mean. It's hard for people to identify a meditative state at first-- but if you know what it feels like to be 'zoned out' watching TV, or how it feels to be totally absorbed in something, you've been hovering around that meditative state before. It's a relaxed state of awareness, you can focus on a song, or a candle flame, or on a movement-- your thoughts don't shut off but you observe them more objectively. You don't let them carry you away. Your attention stays in the moment. Focusing on a chant like "air I am" can help you do that, and chants are generally better than songs with lyrics because songs with lyrics tend to bring a lot of different thoughts to mind. Instrumental music or simple chants (mantras) are better. Keep practicing and let me know if I can help you with any other questions!

    • profile image

      HarmonySMASH 

      3 years ago

      I'm not totally sure I understand meditation. I am trying but I can't tell if I am meditating or just sitting quietly. I tried the traditional sit with everything quiet that was a disaster. So I was going to try with music but I forgot the music but I had already turned on the timer so I just let a section of Air I Am play in my head but I couldn't remember any more so I just let my self develop new lyrics which is why I am writing this. I'm not sure if letting the lyrics develop the same as not being focused on the now or if it was like your example of a guitarist going with the flow.

      I hope this jumble is understandable.

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Hi MsDora- mundane housework offers the perfect opportunity for mindful meditation. Washing the dishes, folding the towels, vacuuming-- putting yourself in the moment and being aware of all the experiences, internal and external, is all you need to do to take advantage of the time. Thanks for commenting!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Good to know. I always that thought that there had to be a way especially for housewives and mothers to experience some calm. Thank you!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Thank you manatita44; I appreciate your comments.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 years ago from london

      Some extremely useful advice and techniques for moving meditation here. Much peace.

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Thanks, beautiful mess (I love your hub name, by the way-- so poetic). I'm glad to know it's helped you look at meditation in a new light. A lot of people can't sit still, at least at first. I hope this helps you find a way to work it into your day. I appreciate the comments.

    • a beautiful mess profile image

      Alex Rose 

      4 years ago from Virginia

      This is very interesting! I'd like to meditate, but it's so hard to sit still. Now I'll be more aware while I'm doing other things, like art. I never really thought about it, but that's a great time to get some meditation done. Thanks for sharing.

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Thanks Catgypsy; I'm glad it could help you out! I know some people really struggle with the sitting still thing.

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 

      4 years ago from the South

      This is so interesting! I do have a hard time just sitting still without doing something, like being on the computer. I am thrilled to realize that I have had those moments you talk about, so I have been meditating sometimes without realizing it. Great Hub, WiccanSage!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by Billy, I hope your wife finds it useful.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I will pass this one to my wife. Bev is constant motion and needs to read this. Thank you for the helpful suggestions.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, remedygrove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://remedygrove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)