Most of us think of meditation as sitting in the lotus position with the eyes closed, but there is a form of meditation called “walking meditation” that is wonderful, relaxing, and something you can do anytime, anywhere.
This type of meditation is a way of finding time to meditate even while being active. The technique allows us to experience easing the mind and releasing stress as we slip into a state of “moving meditation.” This is a great addition to the practice of sitting meditation. It adds variety to our meditation styles, and is useful when the body just doesn’t feel like sitting quietly.
A key component of most styles of meditation is rhythm. This is true of the I-am-peaceful meditation, breath meditation, mantra meditation, and also of walking meditation. The rhythm we create develops a sense of quietude. Meditation gives us a reprieve from restless agitation induced by our constantly chattering minds, inducing a period of rest, rejuvenation, and healing.
Walking meditation has several components. First, it’s best to find someplace you can walk undisturbed and undistracted. You will be walking very slowly. If you are walking in the vicinity of other people, you could be distracted by them, worrying about what they are thinking since you are walking at such a slow pace. You never want to be in a place where you are distracted by self-consciousness about what others may say or think as you are meditating.
Once you find the proper place for your walking meditation, begin walking, and begin to correlate your steps with your breathing. As you breathe in, lift your foot… as you breathe out, put it down. Then you do the same with the other foot and continue in this pattern, walking along with the rhythm of your breath.
Correlate your pace with your breathing, not the other way around. Just breathe naturally, and follow your breath. As you move, you will find that meditative state where your mind becomes calm, even though you are moving. The key is to just focus on your breath and walk in rhythm with it. As with regular meditation, thoughts will come. Don’t fight them or be annoyed with them. Simply allow your attention to go back to your breathing. Follow your breath. Focus your attention on that walking and breathing rhythm.
You may be wondering what you should do with your eyes as you do this. Simply look down at your feet. Watch your feet as you move them to correlate with your breath. If you are in a public place where you cannot correlate a slow walk without attracting attention, here is an alternative way to do this meditation: simply correlate two steps with each breath instead of one step, causing you to walk a little faster. Focus the eyes a little in front of you, gazing so you can see where you are going. As you breathe in, take two steps. As you breathe out, take two more.
This modification of the walking meditation technique comes in handy in places like airports and shopping malls where throngs of people surround you. It can instantly blow the stresses away, as you unwind with each breath and each step you take.
Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a meditation expert, international speaker and has a blog at http://www.Meditation-Enlightenment.com He is the creator of the weekly Meditation For Health Podcast, available at http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com If you would like to contact Dr. Puff, his e-mail address is DrPuff@cox.net