Okay. It took a bit of time before I dared to write this article. The reason was that I thought I was starting to get ‘strange’. Why? Because my body started moving by itself during meditation. On top of that, I couldn’t find any information which told me that this was a normal thing. But don’t worry, everything is fine now… 😉 Here’s the story.

How it started

I’ve been practicing mediation for over a year now. Two times a day. On a daily basis. Early in the morning and late in the evening. Each session takes about half an hour. Sometimes longer. In the beginning I would focus on my breath. Trying to count it while I was sitting down on the ground. The word ‘trying’ is a good description for what I was doing since I would get distracted by thoughts a lot of the time.

After a while, as the distractions by thoughts decreased, I noticed that my back was aching a bit. I realized that I wasn’t sitting down properly and started using some pillows to sit on. Though they did help a bit, the pain was still there. My girlfriend told me about cushions that were made especially for meditation. I bought one and soon the pain was gone. And that’s when my body started moving by itself…

Am I going crazy?

By saying ‘moving by itself’ I don’t mean that during meditation I would stand up and follow wherever ‘my body wanted me to go’. No. It was subtle movement. Arms would slowly move up in the air. My back would curl backwards. My head would be pulled up. All kinds of movements. One by one. Very slowly. I let it happen. I just let the energy in my body do its work. I followed and trusted that the outcome was good.

Sometimes my girlfriend would see me as I was moving my body during meditation. To her and for me it was an unusual experience. I talked to her about what was happening. She just smiled. Not being able to completely understand what I was talking about. Neither could I.

Things are falling into place

I continued to let my body ‘take over’ during meditation. After a while things started to happen. The movements had all been subtle stretching movements (sometimes not so subtle). Due to this muscles would pop into place sometimes. A wonderful, though sometimes a bit painful, experience that gave me more energy to continue to follow my body. Apparently, due to the stress that I had built up in my body, my muscles had been cramped together. Especially in the area of my neck, my head, my shoulders and my chest. Because I was becoming aware of the amount of thoughts in my head, I also became aware of how I felt if I was not thinking. In those moments my body started healing itself.

You’re not what you think

Thoughts can create stress. If you repeat stressful thoughts the stress becomes a part of you and of your body. Lots of people, like me, walk around like it’s the most normal thing in the world to continuously listen to a voice in their head. But it’s not. Stressful thoughts as well as pleasant thoughts are just thoughts. They’re not you. Many people think they ARE their thoughts. But you are the consciousness that is listening to the thoughts. Not the thought itself. That’s a big difference. You are not the voice but the one that is listening to the voice in your head. Meditation is about being present in the now. About you as a conscious being. No thoughts. Just what is.

Yoga and Tai Chi

Some of the movements that I was making during meditation started to turn into positions that would appear repeatedly. As I was looking through a book about yoga I recognized the positions in the book. I WAS DOING THOSE POSITIONS. Without ever having done or read about yoga I had been doing yoga positions by just listening to my body. A very strange experience. Later on I found a book which described that if you listen to your true self your body will start to heal whatever needs healing inside you. This was what was happening to me. Other people had experienced it too. I was not ‘strange’, I was simply aware of signs that other people couldn’t hear yet because they didn’t pay attention to them.

Later on the movements started to blend into my daily life. Whenever I would focus on my body, be it sitting or standing, I would feel the signals. Behind my desk I would start rolling my head. While sitting in the train my shoulders would start to stretch the muscles attached to them. I would make the movements very subtle to not disturb other passengers. Nowadays, as I stand, my whole body starts to move into positions that are not part of yoga. As these positions grew bigger they looked like martial arts movements. Some of the movements resemble Tai Chi. I had to look this up though. Before I didn’t know anything about martial arts.

Habits I changed

Nowadays I am much more aware of my body than I was a year ago. I go for a run 3 times per week. It’s great. Years ago I also went for a run now and then but then I always took my watch with me. I had to run a certain distance within a set time or my run wouldn’t make me happy. I don’t even take my watch with me as I go for a run now. I just let my body set the pace and feel what’s happening as I run. It continuously gives signals. Run faster, run slower, stretch your back…

I also pay more attention to what, when and how much I eat and drink. Food and drinks are the fuel for your body. So I listen when my body needs them. How much it needs and what it prefers. Also going to sleep on time made a big difference in energy for me….

Why I wrote this article

The main reason that I wrote this article is to share my experiences so that others who run into the same situation find someone else on the web who they can relate to. So they see that they’re not ‘strange’ but just people that are aware of the needs of their body. I encourage everyone to try meditation. It’s something that will change your look at life.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Martijn, Great post, thanks for ‘braving it’. Just thought that I’d ask what time you go to bed and get up? Also, a friend of ours is a Yoga teacher and he doesn’t eat anything after 8pm. He believes that this makes him feel great in itself. Thanks again, Simon.

  2. @Simon: Usually I go to bed at about 22:30 and I get up at bout 7 in the morning. This works for me. But some people need less sleep and go to bed later and/or get up earlier. It’s ‘trial and error’. Also, if you want to start getting up earlier it’s good to take it slowly. For instance: 10 minutes earlier each week. Otherwise it seems like your body can’t handle it. But it can. Just take it easy. No big changes.

  3. Hey Martin,

    Ok, so here goes… I have a story which is truly incredible and you are the first person I’ve come across ever mentioning anything like it. I feel like what is happening in my body is unprecedented, but apparently I’m not the only one this has happened to!

    About 6 weeks ago I purchased a program by a woman named Sharon Butler, a program to heal repetitive strain injuries. I am a pianist who has been playing since a young age – during my time in college I began to practice for long periods of time… sometimes 6 hours a day! It was during this time of my life that I developed a tendonitis problem in my forearms. Now 8 years later, at my wits end, I was willing to try anything to get better… ANYTHING! So I decided to give this program a try – there are different stretches, always starting in the shoulders / head, and moving to different parts of the body – focus on laying on the floor, meditation, and listening to the subtle pulls in your facia that will result if you just be still and listen.

    Ok… so here goes… I honestly can’t believe this as I type. About two weeks ago, my head began to very slowly move on its own. YES, completely free of my influence. It would swing all the way to the right, stretching out my neck muscles and then back to the other side. The kind of scary thing about it, was that it started to go progressively faster and faster! Until my head was doing a figure 8 type pattern. It was swinging around at a rapid rate and suddenly stopped with my looking straight up at the ceiling. I says… “ok, that was totally strange, but I guess my body is unwinding! Pretty cool!” I stood up and started to realize my head still wanted to move in the same fashion – it continued to move while I was on my feet, and it created a dance like movement of complete fluidity.

    So now I’m thinking… I’m possessed, I have an evil spirit in me and I’m really freaked out. Went to see a local specialist and she portrayed it in a negative light, like I was in fact possessed by some kind of spirit. It really got me down… I was thinking, I won’t ever tell anybody about this.

    Then, just today I layed on the floor, and sure enough, the head movements began. But this time, the movements went into my arms, back and even legs. My arms would swing up around my head, “stand” on the elbows and swing around in different circular patterns and at an incredibly rapid pace. It would slow down, go fast, change tempos completely – but not at random, they would repeat in certain orders – just MIRACULOUS!

    It was then that I realized my body was healing itself!!!!! Every movement during the ordeal is not for nothing, as it shifts I will always feel an intense stretch somewhere and slowly the facia and muscles will release and the movement will progress to another part of the body. I have had tendonitis for 8 years of my life, and I believe I healed it over the course of a few weeks but doing nothing but lay on the floor.

    For skeptics out there, I don’t blame you – but everything Martin is talking about has happened to me – even the Yoga / Tai Chi type movements. I’m going to have to try out the running thing to see how that works. Its kind of crazy to think that your body will just do crazy stretches on it’s own if you let it.

    Thanks for helping me realize that I’m not crazy and that there’s somebody else out there that’s feeling the same things. I’ll never be the same – I’ve never done any yoga, or martial arts either, and I would be interested in seeing those particular stretches that you were talking about.

    THANKS!

    JP

  4. Dear Martin,

    I’m experiencing exactly what you describe. It started very sublty with my head starting to turn while I was meditating, but now, two days later. My whole body is moving in all directions, it feels so good, I can’t stop moving. It feels like I’m for the first time truly experiencing the three dimensionality of my body, not only right left, front back but all possible directions. It is wonderful and also a little scary, the movements really grow big and the body somehow searches the the “problematic” spots. I feel an enormous relief in my back, shoulders and neck and also in my face, I can’t believe I lived my whole live unaware of this. Anyway, it was comforting to read your words, thanks and take care!

  5. @Sandra: Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Seems like you’re going through the same process as I did.
    Just let your body guide you and trust whatever it wants you to do.

    All the best!

  6. Hello. Thanks for this post. You are a great person for posting this. I have been trying to explain what was going on with me to my girlfriend for a few months now. When I meditate my head will just lift up and turn left to right. When it first happened I was nervous bylut then I realized it was a soothing sensation and I started to relax. I can also hear what seems to be my brain softly cracking at the crown. I can feel energy shoot up to the top of my head and it just goes to turning and turning.

  7. Hey. I’m another person who has also been going through a very similar process. My whole body can get involved and I can choose to ask the healing movement to address specific areas. Sometimes it does, other times not.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Kate