Jamie Sparks
Licensed Massage and Body Work Therapist


Walking meditation

Posted by Jamie Sparks on March 4, 2012 at 1:35 PM

So, maybe thus far, you might think meditation isn't for you, or that you don't have time to meditate, or even that meditation needs to bedone while perfectly still in full lotus with a straight spine.  Well, then here is a newsflash.  None of the above are true.  http://www.transformingourselves.com/Images/Meditation-leaf.jpg" />

Walking meditation can be done anytime, anywhere, it is easily incorporated into your life and doesn't require absolute stillness of the body (since you are in fact walking)  Walking meditation is meditation in action. When we do walking meditation, we are using the physical, mental, and emotional experiences of walking as the basis of developing greater awareness.  And it is a great way to develop awareness and inner stillness and bring it into our everyday lives.  All of us do some sort of walking every day (even if it is from the living room to the kitchen, or from the house to the car).  Any of these moments can be meditation.  And you can also walk in a circle in your living room, or in a lovely outdoor setting (my favorite!)

Many people find walking meditation to be an easier way to bring awareness into their bodies.  Some find it to be an even deeper bodily awareness when compared to sitting forms of meditation practice. When your body is in motion, it is generally easier to be aware of it.  Where as when sitting still in meditation the sensations that arise in the body are much more subtle and can be more challenging to pay attention to than those that arise while we’re walking, 

Walking meditation

This is a meditation I am offering to you to do prior to class.  You can walk around the edge of the yoga room.  Or you can make your walk from the car into the YMCA your meditation.  However, if you would like a longer amount of time (I suggest trying 5-20 minutes), I highly recommend a lovely park or wooded area.  The Botanical Gardens near UNCA are a great choice.  

First, start in tadasana, or mountain pose.  Become aware of your body and breath.  Notice your feet on the earth, where can you feel your feet contacting the earth.  Notice the weight of your torso over your legs and feet.  Notice your spine.  Heighten the overall awareness of your body.  This is more of a tadasana full of awareness, with a bit more of a natural everyday stance for you.  

Bring your awareness into the soles of your feet as you being to walk.  Be aware of the changes in weight as your foot leaves the ground and as your heel first makes contact with the ground, and then your weight shifts as your roll onto the ball of your foot.  Notice the travel of your foot off the ground into the air.  Be aware of all the different sensations in your feet, not just a contact in the soles of your feet but the contact between the toes, the feeling of the inside of your shoes, the fabric of your socks, and let your feet be as relaxed as you can. Become aware of your ankles, your knees, your hips.   Notice the qualities of the sensations in those joints – as your foot is on the ground, as your foot travels through the air.  If it is easier, stay with the awareness in the foot at first.  And as that becomes easier, increase your awareness throughout your body, as you walk, as you move across the earth.  Even notice how your clothing feels against your skin and how that changes with each step.  This can be done with a very slow walking rhythm or your natural cadence.  And stay relaxed. awareness increasing, tension decreasing, relaxation increasing.  

 You can notice your emotional states. How you are feeling.  What is going on in your mind.  Just notice these things with no particular judgment – just noticing.

You may then be able to being to notice the balance between your experience of the inner and the outer.  Your external experiences and your internal experiences. 

Here is another set of instructions on walking meditation in the nature of Thich Nhat Han, a wonderful Buddhist monk and teacher:  http://yogateacher.com/text/meditation/on-line/walking.html

Categories: Meditations

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