The Ten Mindful Movements

The Ten Mindful Movements

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In this article, we’ll provide you with an in-depth overview of the ten mindful movements.

Related: The Seven Miracles of Mindfulness

I.      Introduction: The Ten Mindful Movements

This is Thich Nhat Hanh. His friends call him “Thay.” He’s a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. Thich Nhat Hanh grew up in Vietnam at a time when there was a lot of conflict and violence.

He was exiled because of his outspoken peace activities during the Vietnam War. Thich   Nhat Hanh saw that it was very important for each person to practice finding peace within themselves. So, in   1982, he founded Plum Village, a community of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen in southwest   France.

When people have peace in themselves, then there can be peace in the world. This is our practice every day.

One-way people can develop peace in themselves is by just sitting quietly and breathing. This is called meditation.

With each in-breath, we can notice we are breathing in.   With each out-breath, we can notice we are breathing out. When we breathe like this, our body and our mind come together.   And when our body and our mind are together, we are capable of living life more fully.   We can enjoy what is going on in and around us in each moment.

Often it helps to meditate with other people. Sitting together, breathing together, we can feel very peaceful and happy. But sometimes we need to stop sitting in one place and start to move around! Thich   Nhat Hanh has developed exercises called the Ten Mindful Movements.

The practice of Mindful Movements is to bring awareness and enjoyment into our bodies and into the movements we make with our bodies. Mindful Movements are very simple but very deep. They have been taught and practiced in Plum Village for over two decades.

The exercises are easy to do at home, by yourself, or with others. You can do them inside or outside in the park. You can do them every day or just once in a while. Do each movement four times before moving on to the next one. Have fun!

Also Read: Zen Wellness: Mental Health And Wellness Measurement

II.   The Ten Mindful Movements

To begin, stand with your feet firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Your knees are soft, slightly bent, and not locked. Stand upright and relaxed. Your shoulders are loose.  Imagine an invisible thread is attached to the top of your head and it pulls you up toward the sky.

Keeping your body straight, tuck your chin in slightly so your neck can relax. Let’s practice a little bit of conscious breathing. Make sure your feet are placed firmly on the earth, your body is centered, and your back is straight.

Allow your in-breath to come down into your belly. Then exhale completely. Continue to breathe slowly, aware of each in-breath and out-breath. Smile and enjoy standing like this for a moment.


  1. Begin with your feet slightly apart, arms at your sides.
  2. 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.
  3. Repeat the movement three more times.


  1. Begin with your arms at your sides.  Breathing in, lift your arms in front of you. In one continuous movement, bring them up, stretching them above your head. Touch the sky! This movement can be done with your palms either facing inward toward each other or facing forward as you reach up. Breathing out, bring your arms slowly down again to your sides.
  2. Repeat three more times.


  1. Breathing in, lift your arms out to the side, palms up, until your arms are shoulder level, parallel to the ground. Breathing out, touch your shoulders with your fingertips, keeping your upper arms horizontal.  
  2. Then slowly, 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.
  3. 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 on your shoulders, do the movement three more times. Then lower your arms back down to your sides.


  1. In this exercise, you make a large circle with your arms. Breathing in, bring your arms straight down in front of you, centered between your hips, palms together.
  2. Raise your arms and separate your hands so your arms can stretch up over your head. Breathing out, continue the circle, arms circling back until your fingers point toward the ground.
  3. Breathing in, lift your arms back and reverse the circle. Breathe out as you bring your palms together and your arms come down in front of you. Repeat three more times. 


  1. Start by putting your hands on your waist.
  2. As you do this exercise, keep your legs straight but not locked, and your head centered over your body.
  3. 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
  4. leaning back, breathe out and complete the circle, ending with your head in front of you while you’re still bent at the waist. On your next in-breath, begin a circle in the opposite direction.  On your out-breath, complete the circle.
  5. Repeat the series of movements three more times.


  1. This exercise is called The Frog.
  2. 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 on your toes.
  3. Breathing out, stay on your toes, keep your back straight, and bend your knees. Keep your upper body-centered, go down as low as you can, maintain your balance. 
  4. Breathing in, straighten your knees, and come all the way up while still standing on your toes. From this position, repeat the movement three more times, remembering to breathe slowly and deeply.


  1. In this exercise, you touch the sky and the earth.
  2. Your feet are hip-width apart. Breathing in, bring your arms up above your head, palms forward.
  3. Stretch up, and look up as you touch the sky.
  4. Breathing out, bend at the waist as you bring your arms down to touch the earth. Release your neck. From this position, breathe in, and keep your back straight as you come back up and touch the sky.
  5. Touch the earth and sky three more times.


  1. Start with your feet together and your hands on your waist. Begin by putting all your weight onto your left foot. Breathing in, lift your right thigh as you bend your knee and keep your toes pointed toward the ground.
  2. Then slowly, breathing out, stretch your right leg out in front of you, keeping your toes pointed. Breathing in, bend your knee, and bring your foot back toward your body.
  3. Accordingly, breathing out, put your right foot back on the ground. Next, put all your weight onto your right foot and do the movement with the other leg. Repeat the series of movements three more times.


  1. In this exercise, you make a circle with your leg.
  2. Begin with your feet together and your hands on your waist. Put your weight on your left foot and, breathing in, lift your right leg straight out in front of you and circle it to the side. Breathing out, circle it to the back and bring it down behind you, allowing your toes to touch the ground.
  3. Then accordingly, breathing in, lift your leg behind you and circle it around to the side. Breathing out, continue the circle to the front, then lower your leg and put your foot on the ground, allowing your weight to again be on both feet. Now do the exercise with the other leg.
  4. Repeat the series of movements three more times.


  1. This exercise is done in a lunge position. Begin standing with your feet together. Keeping your left foot where it is, move your right foot out so your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart, and turn your right foot out 90°. Keeping your weight on both feet, your body will naturally turn slightly toward the right foot to find a comfortable position angled between your two feet.  
  2. Put your left hand on your waist and your right arm at your side. Breathing in, bend your right knee, bringing your weight over your right foot as you lift your right arm with the palm of your hand facing outward in front of you, and stretch it to the sky! Breathe out as you straighten your knee and bring your right arm back to your side.
  3. Repeat the movement three more times.
  4. Switch legs, putting your right hand on your waist. Repeat the same movement on the left four times. Then bring your feet back together again.

III. Conclusion: 

You have finished the Ten Mindful Movements. Stand firmly on your two feet and breathe in and out. Feel your body relax. And, Enjoy your breathing.

Also Read: Karma Cleanse with Loving-Kindness, Compassion, And Forgiveness

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