Yes, it's more than just taking a hike. It's wonderful. Are you ready to take your meditation practice to the next level?
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Sitting Meditation Basics
Walking Meditation Basics
Benefits of Walking Meditation
I will tell you what I have learned myself. For me, a long five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day.
10 Basic Points of Meditation Technique
Walking meditation uses the experience of making footsteps as its focus. Meditation by walking can be just as profound an experience as sitting meditation. In walking, there are many benefits. You can be more aware of your whole body/self and experience the body intensely. You may even find it easier to remain more in the present moment, the now.
1. When, Where, Why
When Try to do about 20 minutes of walking meditation each day. The walking may be the meditation itself or the walking may be a part of a meditation session that includes a sitting meditation.
Where The best place for a walking meditation is outdoors. Choose a clear pathway about 30 or 40 feet long. Walking meditation differs from sitting meditation in that you keep your eyes open or at least half open. You must remain aware to avoid tripping over things and bumping into people.
Why Paying attention to the simple left foot, right foot pattern naturally helps you reach a meditative state.
2. Start By Standing Still
Before you step off, stand for a moment and be aware of your body and your breathing. Feet slightly apart, collar bones high, chin up and slightly in, let your head feel as if it is attached to a balloon rising lightly. When you feel a lightening of tension in the forehead, you’re on the right track. Pay attention to your slow easy breathing, in and out.
3. Left, Right, Left Right
Find a single path with natural “turnaround” points. You don’t want to have to think too much about your direction or location. Begin walking with your normal steps. Instead of counting breaths, think of left foot, right foot. When your attention wanders, bring it back to left foot, right foot. You may want to count steps to 10 and repeat. Focus on your feet and keep bringing your attention to your steps.
4. Set the Pace
Walk in a relaxed way, fairly slow, but in your normal stepping motions. Find a pace that gives you the greatest sense of ease.
5. Awareness of Body
After you have settled into a pace, let your awareness settle into your body. Begin with your feet and legs and how they feel as you step left and right. Notice the motions of your hips and the swinging of your arms. Set up check-in spots, such as every ten steps or at the “turnaround” points. Scan your body for tension and posture, and relax all points.
6. Awareness of Emotions
Be aware of emotions and feelings you may have as you walk. Notice the emotions, but don’t focus on them or try to push them away. Just notice and then return your focus to your walking steps.
7. Awareness of Consciousness
In walking, we think of things outside ourselves more than we might do when we are inside sitting in meditation. You may be aware of the sun, the wind, or even rain. You will hear birds, wind, humans, cars, and planes. Try not to get caught up looking at things around you. Just allow those things to drift by. Bring your thoughts back to your walking.
8. Balance Inner and Outer Worlds
Strive to find a balance between your inner “world” and the outer world. In walking meditation, it is easier to place more attention on the outer world. Finding that place of balance can calm the mind and quiet any persistent thoughts or emotions.
9. Pause and Look
When your mind wanders or strong emotions erupt, let it go. Return your awareness back to the left, right, left, right rhythm of walking. If something you see is truly compelling or beautiful, you may need to stop walking and really look at it. Just return when ready to the pace of the walking meditation.
10. Stop Walking
At the end of the practice, choose a spot to come to a natural stop and stand still. Bring your awareness to the standing position and notice what it feels like to no longer be moving. Be aware of your feet on the ground and your weight connecting you to Earth. Stand comfortably still, experience the moment, and bring the session to a close.
In our every-day lives, walking is a more natural state than that of sitting still with eyes closed. Thus walking meditation can be a bridge between the practice of meditation and the activities of our daily lives. Combined with sitting meditation, it is one more way to help us be more mindful, present in the now, and more aware of our ordinary activities.
Read more about the benefits of walking meditation.
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