Walking meditation transforms an everyday activity into one which creates peace and joy in our life. With this form of mediation the centre of our focus is walking. By becoming mindful when walking we learn to become more aware of our breathing and our body. We also learn to focus our attention on the present moment, and not thoughts of the future or the past. Walking meditation is not a new practice. It is found in both Taoist and Buddhist traditions. Below you can learn how you can do walking meditation and make it daily practice.
Planning Your Walking Meditation
It is best to set aside 20 to 30 minutes for a walking meditation session. Walking meditation works best when performed outside, preferably in a quieter environment such as in the park, forest or empty back streets. Try to avoid walking up hills as the purpose of the walking meditation isn’t to physically exert yourself. It is important for walking meditation that you don’t try and multi-task. The walk should be to meditate, not to break a sweat, listen to your iPod or run errands.
Many people like to make their walking meditation something that they do first thing in the morning. Usually it will be quieter and its a great way to set yourself up for the day. Alternatively, you might like to practice your walking meditation during your lunch break to rebalance and distress during your work day.
How To Start Your Walking Meditation
Your walking meditation should begin with a few moments of standing still. This is a time for you to centre yourself and prepare for the walking meditation ahead. Bring your focus to your body and your breathing. Relax your pelvis as you would when mounting a horse and really feel the connection between your feet and the earth. Begin with a series of deep breaths, inhaling deep into your stomach. Once you have taken some deep breaths, following with normal breathing. Pay attention to your breathing and the way that your body feels as you are standing.
Focusing On Your Body And Movement
Once you are ready to begin, start walking at a normal pace. This may be slightly slower than your are normally used to, if you are usually a brisk walker. When you are walking you want to keep your attention on the internal experience not on those things that are happening around you. Normally when we are walking we spend most of the time observing our surroundings or thinking thoughts about our plans or events that have occurred to us. If these thoughts or observations come into your mind, note them and then let them drift away, bringing your attention back to your walking meditation.
Focus your attention on the way that your whole body is involved with your walk. Your arms and legs are both involved in the movement as you walk. Observe how your limbs move and synchronise as you walk. Also not the feelings that you experience in your feet. Notice the way that the foot feels as it makes contact with the ground and what it feels like when it pushes off the ground again. Experience the feeling of your foot bearing your body’s full weight.
Co-ordinating Your Breathing And Movement
Once you are comfortable with the basic walking meditation move onto co-ordinating your breathing and movement. Start by inhaling and then moving your left foot foot forward. Follow this by exhaling and moving your right foot forward with. Keep moving forward, co-ordinating your inhaling breath with your left foot and your exhaling breath with your right foot. Your gaze should be on the ground just before your feet and you should remain relaxed throughout.
Stay In The Now
As with any type of meditation it is naturally that at some point your attention may begin to wander. Perhaps you will begin thinking of the tasks that you need to complete that day or you will become distracted by something that you observe as you are walking. If this occurs, simply bring your attention back to the present and your walking. Remember that the purpose of walking mediation is not the final destination but the journey. Slow down and enjoy the time that you have given to yourself for your walking meditation.
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