Shaking meditation offers a quick way to calm the mind, and is a great destresser.
Somatic shaking (shaking or trembling), which comes from the limbic brain (the part of the brain that holds emotions), sends a signal that danger has passed and that the fight-or-flight system can turn off. They are literally finishing the nervous system response to release trauma from the body.
If you haven’t heard of shaking meditation before you’re not alone. It’s fairly new in terms of main-stream meditations, but has a long history as a Tai Chi warm up routine. The act of purposely shaking or vibrating can release muscular tension and calm down the nervous system. It also saturates (takes up) your full attention pulling you away from your normal auto-pilot thinking habits to give you a mental break, much like taking a slow deep cleansing breath does.
As an Applied Awareness meditation, there are two distinctive versions, shaking and vibrating. The shaking form is more like a Tai Chi warm up where you spend a few minutes on your feet bouncing and shaking your body to release muscular tension. The vibrating variation can be done in any posture or position by vibrating your limbs and body for as little as 10 seconds, which can be enough to change the nervous system, before coming to a full stop where you can experience a calmer mind.
Vibrating and shaking meditation, in conjunction with other daily awareness activities can dramatically reduce the amount of stress and anxiety you experience.
Shaking/Vibrating Meditation, also known as Somatic shaking or therapeutic shaking, is a practice that involves intentionally inducing and allowing the body to shake or tremble as a way to release stored tension and trauma from the nervous system. It is a form of body-based therapy that aims to restore balance and promote healing by accessing the body’s innate self-regulatory mechanisms.
Somatic shaking recognizes that the body holds onto unresolved stress and trauma, which can manifest as physical tension, emotional distress, or psychological symptoms. By engaging in intentional shaking or tremoring movements, somatic shaking aims to activate the body’s natural instinctual responses and discharge trapped energy.
Here’s a general overview of how somatic shaking can be practiced:
- Find a safe and comfortable space: Choose a quiet and private space where you can freely move and shake without any distractions or interruptions. Ensure your surroundings are safe and supportive.
- Establish a sense of safety: Before beginning the shaking practice, it’s important to establish a sense of safety within yourself. Take a few moments to ground yourself, connect with your breath, and create a safe and supportive environment for the practice.
- Tune into your body: Bring your awareness to your body and notice any sensations, tension, or areas of discomfort. Take the time to gently scan your body and become familiar with its present state.
- Initiate the shaking: Start by allowing your body to initiate gentle shaking or trembling movements. You can begin with your hands, feet, or any part of your body that naturally feels like shaking. Allow the shaking to spread throughout your body at its own pace.
- Follow your body’s impulses: Rather than trying to control or manipulate the shaking, let your body lead the way. Tune into any natural impulses or movements that arise and allow them to express themselves freely. Trust your body’s wisdom and innate healing capacity.
- Breathe and observe: Maintain a focus on your breath throughout the practice. Take deep, slow breaths in and out, allowing the breath to support the natural shaking process. Observe the sensations, emotions, and thoughts that may arise without judgment or attachment.
- Gradual slowing and stillness: When you feel a natural slowing down or completion of the shaking, allow it to come to a gradual stillness. Take a moment to rest and integrate the experience.
- Self-care and integration: After the somatic shaking practice, practice self-care and gentle grounding techniques. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as deep breathing, gentle stretching, or taking a warm bath. Allow yourself time to reflect and integrate the effects of the practice.