Exploring Walking Meditation for Daily Living

June 5, 2013 · Print This Article

The usual image of meditation is that of a perfectly still person sitting in the lotus position while staring distantly at a center of focus. Actually, this is not the only way that a person can do meditation. In fact, one of the most interesting techniques to look into today is Walking Meditation. This practice is rooted in age-old Buddhist and Taoist traditions, but it is one that can be carried out as a part of contemporary living.

Practical Benefits

For advanced practitioners of meditation, the most important advantage derived from this particular branch is that it provides a way to be in a state of mindfulness even while one is not in the lotus position. It can be fitted easily into daily living. This includes, for example, the act of walking to and from a parking lot or going from one office another other while at work.
This type of meditation is the more appropriate form when one is feeling sluggish or weary because it is invigorating. It is also a good choice as an activity upon waking up or after meals. During times of stress or strong emotions, rather than sitting in complete stillness, walking may be an easier way to achieve a state of calm and awareness.

Physically, this activity may not raise one’s pulse rate to the degree required by aerobics programs, but it still contributes to building strength and stamina if done regularly. Buddha is said to have told his followers that it would help build resistance to illness and disease as well as aid in the digestion of food. It is of course a given that the ability to concentrate improves with the constant repetition of walking meditation. More than this, it makes physical fitness possible in the gentlest of ways.

A Brief Guide to the Exercise

If you are interested in finding out if this can fit into your days, then try it. Ideally, a formal session takes about twenty minutes, but once you have grasped the essence of the practice, even the act of walking from one’s car to the supermarket becomes an opening for execution.

You can begin by standing with spine straight, shoulders relaxed and arms hanging down your sides. In this position, take long, slow breaths, letting go of all tensions and burdens as you exhale. Focus your attention on the parts of the body that are involved in walking. Relax and become aware of your jaw, neck, chest, belly, hips, pelvis, legs, and feet. Try to bring each part into a state of balance.

Center your attention on the ground before you then begin taking small steps. Allow your breath to be in tune with your walking, inhaling as you step forward with the right foot then exhaling as you step with your right. You can also inhale and exhale with more than a step for as long as you keep a normal, relaxed pace. When you walk, stretch out your ankle, the arch of your foot and your toes. Allow your entire sole to come in contact with the ground so that all the nerve endings and blood vessels are stimulated.

When the harmonized rhythm of your walking and breathing has been established, thoughts, feelings, and emotions may pass through your mind. Be aware of them, but neither discard nor hang on to them. Acknowledge them and let them go. Then, begin to visualize that you are paying homage to the earth each time your foot touches the ground. Enjoy each step and keep breathing to provide oxygen to all parts of your body.

Integrating Walking Meditation into Daily Life

When you become at ease with this kind of meditation you can pick up the challenge of integrating it into your daily life. Each time you have a chance to do so, be mindful of your walking. This, in itself makes you straighten your spin, balance your chin, relax your body. Then, be aware of the steps you take, visualizing that the sole of your foot is touching the earth and giving it the respect it deserves. These little windows of awareness alter the texture of your day in a positive way.

Walking Meditation is an easy, practicable way to change something mundane into a profound means to achieve healing. With meditation, walking becomes a tool to awaken the mind, nourish the spirit and strengthen the body. Best of all, it is probably the easiest way to transform something ordinary that you do every day into an opportunity for health and growth.

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