15 Zen Pursuits To Help You Recharge
(That Aren’t Yoga) 


Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

I was never one for going to the gym, not when our
natural world is a such a phenomenal playground.

Run… Jump… Climb… Swim… Surf…


Zen Pursuits (meditation + movement) focus on increasing your range of movement, flexibility and agility while developing strength and cardio capacity.

They’re uber-fun to do, get you in the zone and most can be done outdoors.

Meditate In Action

The essence of Meditation is “to put the mind to”; tune into the present and open your awareness to your surroundings. What better way to do that than physically connecting to your environment – feeling the rock under your fingers or the waves wash over you. 

Inner reflection may not occur during this active form of meditation, in a traditional sense anyway, however, you will gain feedback about your body and its capabilities.

Being ‘in action’ is also helpful for those of us who are big thinkers and so sometimes feels a little disconnected from our body and can struggle to clear our minds. 

15 Zen-Pursuits (List)

1. Climbing 

Climbing challenges you creatively. To complete a route, you have to work out how to move your body in new and different ways. When you can join these movements together, you flow.

Muscle tone is developed rapidly and, as climbing is really social (and chill), it’s a fun way to spend your time.

Three of us can climb the same route, and we could all do it differently. Try something. If it works, use it. 

2. Bouldering 

Bouldering is an extremely dynamic activity. It is an excellent way to develop power and core strength. 

For those who are not a fan of heights, bouldering, as opposed to climbing, typically means shorter ‘problems’ and without the need for a harness or rope. 

3. Surfing

Feeling the surge of the ocean, there’s nothing like catching a wave! Total whole body workout. 

More and more artificial wave pools are being built, which is a safe way to learn if you’re nervous about the big blue. 

However, if you can safely get outdoors, being immersed in the ocean is a powerful mood raiser.

4. Big Kite flying

…And I mean big. A kite that you have to lean all of your bodyweight into flying. 

Once you’ve got the hang of it, the movement feels wonderful and helps develop a strong core.

5. Dance (any forms but especially contemporary) 

Joyful. Powerful. Whatever mood you’re in, you can create movement out of it. Needs no explanation really.

6. Slacklining

As the name suggests, the line is somewhat slack and so moves – a lot (up and down, side to side). So you have to counteract each movement you make until you find your centre of balance. Simple yet uber-addictive.

Unlike tightrope walking, it doesn’t hurt your bare feet thanks to the flat webbing. 

7. Free Running/Parkour 

The practice of quick and efficient movement, free running/parkour develops “functional strength and fitness, balance, spatial awareness, agility, coordination, precision, control and creative vision.” Parkour UK

8. ‘Soft’ martial arts such as Tai Chi 

Soft martial arts means you get to practice fluid movement, without getting hit in the face.

Tai Chi make look slow in practice, but that’s because you need to develop the muscle memory before you can unleash the speed. 

9. AcroYoga (ok so it has yoga in the name)

AcroYoga is a combination of acrobatic and yoga/dance like movements, accomplished through teamwork. There are three primary roles; base, flyer and spotter. 

AcroYoga is like playtime, you don’t even realise you’re ‘working out’. You can rock up by yourself or take your friends/partner.

10. Acrobatics and Circus Skills

If you’re not into the partnered element of AcroYoga, or the yogi vibe, you can do straight up acrobatics. 

Developing flexibility, agility and ultra-strength (without the big muscles), you will be amazed at what the human body is capable of.

11. Swimming 

Open water swimmers refer to it as “A Dose of Dr. Sea”, swimming in cold water is a known treatment for depression.

Even if you can only get down to the pool, swimming provides all the cardio benefits while being low-impact.

12. SCUBA diving 

I love the methodical breathing of diving. It slows you right down. Plus, you get the benefit of being in the sea (without getting hit by waves) and being entertained by the sea life. 

Once you’ve done your Open Water Diver course, you can find a buddy and hire kit, which makes it a lot more affordable to do regularly than purchasing excursions. 

13. Ariel Silks/Hoops

This is one on the list that I have yet to do, but really, really, want to. 

Combining strength and poise, you develop the athletism to perform ‘tricks’. 

A similar and more widespread alternative would be Pole Fitness classes. 

14. Calisthenics

Rooted in the Greek words of “Kalos” and “Sthenos” meaning beauty and strength, it basically boils down to bodyweight exercises (that look really cool).

You can do calisthenics anywhere, by yourself, and you don’t need much room. 

15. Traditional Weapons:

…Such as Kobujutsu (staff), Kenjutsu (Samurai sword) and archery.

I love these for switching off my thoughts and getting into the zone, especially the clunk clunk clunk of the Bo. 


So if hitting the gym isn’t for you, try these as an alternative. 

Let me know your experiences in the comment section below 🙂



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