Walking meditation is a way to take your meditation practice beyond the cushion. A way to experience a more dynamic form of meditation. It’s also great when doing meditation retreats and resting your body in between long sessions.
Your daily source of inspiration for all things meditation anxiety and personal growth. Today we're talking about walking meditation. Have you practiced walking meditations? If so please write yes in the comments and if no please right now.
So walking meditation is more than a stroll in the park. It looks more like meditation than walking. It’s very different than just walking in a relaxed way. There is a specific purpose, a specific awareness about it. There are many different techniques for practicing walking meditation. Usually, you are co-coordinating your steps with your breathing or with a Mantra or with a specific attitude that you are developing. So let me start by giving you the main guidelines for the practice.
First is the place, where do you practice walking meditation. it can be done anywhere. But I recommend a place where you feel safe. Where there are not many people around if there is no one looking at you that is better. Because then you can completely forget about other people and just stay with the process.
The second guideline is length 10 minutes is enough. Start with 10 minutes and then if you want, you can do a longer practice. But don't start with something that is too long and you can't keep it up.
The third element is the pace. Walking meditation is much slower than normal walking, much slower. Because the purpose is not getting anywhere. The purpose is arriving in the present moment. So the pace will be slow. There is also the practice of centering for one minute before the meditation. You can just stand there and take a few deep breaths and arrive in your body, arrive in the present moment. Then you start the meditation. You see the difference. It makes that one minute of silence and stillness standing up before the practice. Then also does that for a few moments at the end of the Practice.
If you are anything like me. You will not feel like moving at that time. It just feels so peaceful that you feel like it. You can stay. You can just stand there forever. So this is one minute of centering before and after the practice is helpful to enhance the benefits you get from it. Then finally is the attitude, unlike normal walking. We are not getting anywhere. We’re just arriving in the present moment. So just stay with the process. Enjoy the process. It’s just like meditation but you're moving your feet. That’s the idea.
All right so what are the benefits of walking meditation? If you Google the 76 benefits of meditation. You’ll find an article that I wrote on this topic and many of those been fits of, seated meditation will also apply in one way or another to walking meditation. Walking in itself is also really good for your health. It’s good for soothing stress and anxiety. So you combine the benefits of walking with the benefits of meditation through this practice. Another thing that is beneficial about walking meditation is people find that it's easier to stay present with your meditation with your practice. If your feet are moving and that depends from technique to technique. But it's something that is worth trying. People who practice it report that benefit. All right so now that we have covered what is walking meditation. The guidelines and the benefits.
Next is how to do it. There are many different techniques for walking meditation. There is an article and live in there by the name of walking meditation and there you can find details about each of these techniques that I'm going to share here and other ones.
Buddhist walking meditation Tara vada:
So the first one is the Buddhist walking meditation technique especially in the Tara vada tradition which is one of the oldest traditions still alive. In this practice, you focus your attention on the sensations in your body. Lifting the foot advancing; lowering the foot and landing; that's it you try to notice every element of these sensations. So when you're raising your foot you are aware that you're raising your foot. When you're landing your foot you are aware that you're landing a foot a moment after. You are aware of each step. If you do that for a few minutes you will experience peace.
Another style of walking meditation is in Zen. They call it King him. It’s a bit more formal. As it's normal in Zen. They use a specific hand technique that looks like this. Of all styles of guiding of walking meditation. It’s perhaps the slowest one. With every breath, you take half a step. It’s kind of like this so it's very slow. It’s all about syncing your breathing with your steps. Staying with your breath moment after moment. Just like with meditation whenever your mind wanders away into thinking memories distractions you notice that and you bring it back to your object of focus.
Vietnamese Thich Nhat Hanh:
Then we have the guided the walking meditation created by Thich Nhat Hanh, the famous Vietnamese Zen master. The unique thing about this walking meditation style is that it uses affirmations. You can play with whatever affirmation. You like to see what works for you. But one of the ones that he commends is breathing in and giving a step you say to yourself. I have arrived and breathing out another step. I am home so in this case, these are formations that are bringing them back to the present moment. There’s no reason why you cannot use any information that works for you. Breathing in I feel calm breathing out I am bold like whatever you want to develop.
Then yoga, in the yoga tradition there are a few styles of walking meditation. It’s usually a form of moving Pranayama or breathing exercise. There is the Pranayama called box breathing. It’s an adaptation of a modern adaptation. In which you breathe in for four seconds. You hold for four you breathe out for four. You hold for. So you can do this while you're walking as you breathe in you take four steps. Then you hold your breath more four steps breathing out for four steps and hold empty for four steps. You can also use the ratio that the use in alternating Nostril Pranayama.
Which is 1 for 2 so for instance you could breathe in you take 3 steps then hold your breath for 12 steps and breathe out for 6 steps. That’s probably a little bit more challenging. Then the most common form of walking meditation in yoga is using a Mantra. You are sinking the repetition of the Mantra which are steps that can be done even either by speaking out the mantra, whispering the mantra, or repeating it in your mind. So Mantra and steps become one.
Finally, there is the tradition of Taoism. Taoism comes from China. So the wisdom tradition from China one of them. They also have styles of walking meditation. Some of them are not a little bit more esoteric meditation nor metaphysical by nature so it may not be for everyone. There is the style where you breathe in and out as you are you seeing. You think your breathing in and out .as you're walking and then you visualize yourself breathing in qi from the universe and then breathing out either moving through your body or out into the V universe again.
Dan Tien Meditation:
There's another practice that is very centering which is being pulled by the Dan Tien that's what they call. So the Dan Tien is this part in your body about 4 fingers below the belly button, the navel. As you're walking imagine that you're being gently pulled and energetically pulled by this part of your body. You notice how this is grounding and soothing. Then they also have a practice called aimless walking. You can read the article for more details. So this is a general overview of walking meditation.
In summary, walking meditations are a form of meditation there is more dynamic .it combines the benefits that you have from meditation practice with the benefits of walking. There are many different ways to practice walking meditations. I recommend you check out the full article on living there to learn more but basically you can practice by syncing your breath with your steps. That’s how they do it in Zen you can practice by paying attention to the sensations of walking. That’s what they do in Theravada Buddhism; you can sync it with a Mantra that's how they do it in Yoga. You can use specific visualizations which is what they do in Daoism. I hope you find one of these techniques appealing.