Introduction to Walking Meditation
There are many ways one can meditate but today we are focusing on walking meditation. Walking meditation works well for those of us who have a hard time sitting still while clearing the mind. It can also be used as a supplemental meditation for those who practice silent, guided, or other forms of meditation. Walking meditation focuses on being aware of the body and how it feels and how it moves with steady, focused movement matched with rhythmic breathing.
Walking Medication can be a wonderful way to get a daily meditation practice started. Once the technique is learned it can be incorporated into almost any walk. Walking meditation can be practiced during any time of the day in almost any environment.
Initially the best places to practice walking mediation are open outdoor areas without too many obstacles or distractions such as a wooded walking path. an open field, or even a less traveled pathway in a local park. Later as the technique is honed busier places with a variety of distractions are fine for this meditation practice making it a viable option for day to day practice.
Once a location is chosen the next step is to just stand for a few moments. Briefly close the eyes and become aware of the body, the solidness of the ground beneath the feet, and the surrounding sounds. Notice the feel and temperature of the of the air. Is there a breeze? Is the path dirt, gravel, or grass? Slowly open the eyes and focus straight ahead. Take the first step. Then the second. Slowly building the pace while keeping the gaze forward, focusing on how each foot feels as it is lifted from the ground, swung forward, and placed it back down. Notice the looseness of the hips and contraction of the thighs and calves during each step. Keep the back straight with good posture and continue to move forward while finding the pace that feels the best. Find a good balance in breath. Focus on matching the breath to movement in the way that is most comfortable for continued movement and body awareness.
Honing the Technique:
As the practice is continued and distractions arise pull the focus back to the body, its movement and the breath. Empty the mind of thoughts and worries, while continuing to focus on awareness of the bodies movement and feel. Attempt to move through the practice with enough awareness to keep from tripping, running into something or otherwise incurring harm, while maintaining focus and tuning out distractions such as people, vehicles, loud noises, etc. Continue to practice more and more often squeezing in a few minutes here and there as you start to move daily walking into walking meditations.
The more often walking meditation is practiced the better, easier and more rewarding, the experience will be. Once able to maintain this body/breath awareness for an extended period of time of 10-15 minutes or longer it will become much easier to just drop into this meditative state while walking. Over time it should become easy to drop into walking meditation in almost any location. It can be practiced in town, at the office, during events, while out running errands, even walking to and from the car.