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Mindful Movements Made Easy

Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author, and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has developed exercises called Mindful Movements. These simple, deep motions, based in yoga and tai-chi, have been taught and practiced in Plum Village for over two decades.

In his new, tenderly illustrated book Mindful Movements, he writes: "The Mindful Movements are another wonderful way of connecting your mind and body in mindfulness. They are a way to touch the sky, to smile at your own body, and to touch your heart. When you do them, please enjoy each part of each movement. They are not like aerobics, where you have to move as quickly as possible. There is no need to rush. When I do them, I find I cannot help smiling. I hope they bring you joy."

You can try a different movement for every day of the week (there are seven here and more in the book). Do each one four times before moving on to the next. Have fun!

Start With Breathing

Start with Breathing

Let's begin by practicing a little bit of conscious breathing.

Make sure your feet are placed firmly on the earth, your body is centered, your back is straight, shoulders relaxed.

Allow your breathing to come down into your belly.

You may like to smile and enjoy standing for just one moment.



1. Lifting Your ArmsLifting Your Arms

Begin with your feet slightly apart, arms at your sides.

Breathing in, keep your elbows straight as you lift your arms in front of you until they're shoulder level, horizontal to the ground.

Breathing out, bring your arms down again to your sides.

Repeat the movement three more times.


 2. Touch the Sky!

Touch the SkyThis movement can be done with your palms either facing inward, toward each other, or facing out to the front as you reach up to the sky.

Breathing in, lift your arms in front of you and bring them all the way up, stretching them above your head.

Touch the sky!

Breathing out, bring your arms slowly down again to your sides.

Repeat three more times.


3. Open Like a FlowerOpen Like A Flower

Breathing in, lift your arms out to the side, palms up, until your arms are horizontal to the ground.

Breathing out, touch your shoulders with your fingertips, keeping your upper arms horizontal.

Breathing in, open your arms, extending them until they're stretched out to a horizontal position again.

Breathing out, bend your elbows, bringing your fingertips back to your shoulders.

When you breathe in, you are like a flower opening to the warm sun.

Breathing out, the flower closes.

From this position with your fingertips back at your shoulders, do the movement three more times.

Then lower your arms back down to your sides.


4. Make Arm-Circles

Make Arm-CirclesIn this exercise, you make a large circle with your arms.

Breathing in, bring your palms together in front of you.

Raise your arms up and separate your hands so your arms can stretch up over your head, and continue the circle, arms out, circling back, until your fingers point toward the ground.

Breathing out, lift your arms back and reverse the circle, bringing your palms together as your arms come down in front of you.

Repeat the movement three more times.



5. Swivel Your Torso

Move your feet out to the side so they're shoulder-width apart and put your hands on your waist.Swivel Your Torso

As you do this exercise, keep your legs straight, but not locked, and your head centered.

Breathing in, bend forward at the waist and begin to make a circle with your upper body.

When you're halfway through the circle, your upper body leaning back, breathe out and complete the circle, ending with your head in front of you while you're still bent at the waist.

Do this three more times.

On your next in-breath, begin a circle in the opposite direction.

On your out-breath, complete the circle.

Repeat the movement three more times.


6. Do the Frog

Do the FrogThis exercise is called the Frog.

Begin with your hands on your waist, heels together, feet turned out to form a V, so that they make a 90° angle.

Breathing in, rise up on your toes.

Breathing out, stay on your toes, keep your back straight, and bend your knees down as far as low as you can keeping your upper body centered and without losing your balance.

Breathing in, straighten your knees and come all the way up, still standing on your toes.

From this position, repeat the movement three more times, remembering to breathe slowly and deeply.


7. Touching the Sky and the Earth

In this exercise, you touch the sky and the earth.Touching the Sky and the Earth

Your feet are hip-width apart.

Breathing in, bring your arms up in front of you and stretch all the way up, with palms facing out in front of you as you touch the sky.

Breathing out, bend at the waist as you bring your arms down to touch the earth. From this position, breathe in, and keep your back straight as your raise all the way back up and your arms reach back up to the sky.

Breathing out, bend forward and bring your arms back down to touch the earth.

Touch the sky and the earth three more times.





You have finished seven Mindful Movements.

Stand firmly on two feet again and breathe in and out.

Feel your body relax.










11 Comment count
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Mindful Movements

Interesting ideas that you have here. I am sure they will be most beneficial to those who apply them. Your author page is very informative and certainly can lead one to a higher level of consciousness.

You should check out my pages and you wil notice that we seem to write on more or less the same subject matter with of course, different approaches. Look at my book, Self-Revealization Acceptance.

Best regards, Hanshi Stephen Kaufman

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paradoxical simplicity

one movement at a time - not too much to ask, heh? so much in so little!


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I just want to say

a joyful hello and thank you!


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I'll be trying these tomorrow....

Looks like a good way to diminish stress!

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Interesting...Thank you

Ever since I read "For A Future To Be Possible" I have found new meaning in the pancha sila and its practice. To this day I remember what you said about each sila. Thank you. I'm sure that these mindful movements will also help lots of others achieve peace of mind.

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Interesting...Thank you

Ever since I read For A Future to Be Possible I have found new meaning in the practice of the Pancha Sila. Thank you for the succient explanations. I hope many people will benefit from the Mindful Movements Made Easy.

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These are calming and a good way to stretch the muscles after staring at the computer screen, typing away... I also love the illustrations.

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Nice Blog with Added Movement

Thank you. I will try this tomorrow, memorize it, and attempt to do it everday!

You are a great teacher!


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Useful movement guide

Thank you.  I have been taking chair yoga weekly.  It will be good to have these to know what to do between lessons.

Thank you!

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I hope to try these too! Are

I hope to try these too! Are you  in Ireland at the moment? I thought I heard  you are visiting Limerick? 

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Thank you. Just what I need to help me relax when a take a break from writing. I'll share this with friends.