Engaging in the practice of walking meditation is a great way to get in touch with physical awareness. Although we walk constantly throughout the day we don’t often use it as a time to center ourselves. Instead we think of it as an action to be rushed through in order to get where we’re going. If we are headed to a meeting, then our mind is filled with thoughts about the meeting. In our rush to get to our destination, we overlook where we are in the present, while blindly going through the motions. The practice of walking meditation changes the act of walking, from a destination guided activity, to an activity where we focus on each moment as it comes.
Walking meditation is a time to immerse yourself in the environment while relaxing into the pace of nature.
To absorb yourself in a meditative state while practicing walking meditation, it helps to have a quiet trail that you can walk comfortably. If you live in a quiet neighborhood or close to a park, then this may also suit your purpose. When beginning the walking meditation, be sure that you have plenty of time to enjoy the walk. If you have time to walk in the morning, it’s a good way to instill energy and focus throughout the day. If you don’t have time in the morning, then walking at night may be a good way to unwind. Walking at night can provide a chance to relax the mind before going to sleep.
When you engage in walking meditation, it will be helpful to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. You want to be as relaxed as possible so that you may focus on where you are at, with minimal distractions.
On your way out to walk tell yourself that you will leave all of your worries at home. You don’t need to think of work or any other troubles when you enjoy this personal time.
There is no goal when you engage in walking meditation. The purpose of the activity is simply to be aware of everything as much as possible. It helps to walk slowly so that you are attentive to the slightest change in mental state.
As you proceed begin by centering on the breath. Focusing on the breath will allow you to settle into a natural pace. You will benefit greatly from recognizing when you tend to speed up as if you are trying to get somewhere. You are not focused on getting somewhere in this exercise. Make sure you acknowledge this. Focusing solely on your slow and steady breath will allow your body and mind to slow down as well.
Some teachers will tell you to get into a rhythm between the breath and your steps. Personally I find this difficult to maintain control of. If your body falls in to a rhythm then it will benefit your meditative state. However, I find it useful only if it occurs without too much exertion. The most important thing is to remain in a relaxed state of mind. After practice you may find that you reach a rhythm much easier.
When you finally allow yourself to slow down; feel how nice it is to have the outside air move around you. The air will help clear your mind, especially if you find yourself caught up thinking of a particular problem. Try to notice if there are any unusual scents in the air as it passes by. If you happen to pass flowers, take a moment to appreciate their scent, letting the fragrance bring you into the moment.
Continue to walk at a slow pace and really pay attention to your breathing. Allow your breathing to sink in to the belly to relax your legs and torso. You will notice that you may instinctively begin to walk faster, so it’s helpful to remain aware. Once you are able to maintain a relaxed pace begin to pay attention to the way your body feels as you walk. Are you hunched over, or do you have a naturally alert posture? Do you constantly look at your feet and the ground as you walk, or do you look around at your environment? All of these actions which you engage in will have an effect on your mental state, so it’s important that you take note of them. When you are walking slowly and with awareness, you may notice things which you normally don’t.
Try not to become to focused on analyzing the way you walk. Just take a moment to acknowledge it and move on. You will become more relaxed as you continue your walking meditation. As you walk let your mind flow with the body. Allow your mind to scan the body and notice the sensations you feel as you walk. Notice how your feet embrace the ground and carry you with sureness. Be aware of how little effort it takes to control the movement of your body.
Noticing all of these things will allow you to completely absorb yourself in the present moment. As you become more and more observant you will lose yourself in a meditative state. Be sure to choose a safe path, so that you aren’t oblivious to potential traffic dangers.
Walking meditation provides an excellent chance to leave your troubles behind and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Take a moment to be grateful for your feet and legs. It’s a simple thing that you can do to realize how fortunate you are. Taking a time out from the rush of life to be grateful for your ability to walk will help you remember what’s important. The most important thing for you to realize is that joy in the present moment is possible. Walking meditation provides ample opportunity to re-center our focus. Once you become more accustomed to this practice, you will be able to carry it with you whenever you are walking.
For those who may have difficulty walking, this may be a good time to enjoy the company of a friend. Spending time with those we care about is an excellent way to share positive energy. Regardless of what the present circumstances are, taking a moment to be grateful for the gift of life is a powerful way to reinforce a positive mental attitude.
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Another form of dynamic meditation practice is martial arts. Throughout many different cultures we see different methods of using the body to refine mental concentration and discipline. This site discusses some of these various techniques. If you are interested in knowing more, then please visit this site: Martial Arts Meditation.