Can walking meditation be a way to find calm amid a life full of distractions?
As humans, walking is our primary mode of transport. We walk to get a cup of coffee from the kitchen, we walk to catch a bus, or a metro, we even walk with our dogs, parents and children and alone. But can it be a form of meditation too? It would become easy if so! It could save us so much time if we double task.
Walking can be an ideal entry point into meditation for those that struggle to focus whilst seated. This is because when we focus on walking it becomes more difficult for thoughts to wander. The mind has something to concentrate on in the physical movement of the body, which takes it away from things that might otherwise draw our attention.
In today’s world there are so many distractions and so much to keep up with on a daily basis. Giving the mind time to rest is crucial for it to function optimally. Generally, the mind jumps from one subject to another, like a monkey jumping from branch to branch, losing its focus and often entering the dangerous territory of fear and negativity. Meditation brings the mind back to the here and now and to a singular, calming focus. When you use walking as a meditative practice:
1. You will be able focus on listening to and directing the movements of your body.
2. In the process, thoughts and emotions may also come into your awareness. Rather than allowing these triggers to kidnap your mind, you will choose to redirect your mind to your body.
3. A walking meditation practice allows a quiet, focused mind to become an integral part of your life, whether you are walking through your office halls, walking in your neighbourhood after dinner, or walking for fitness.
Now, Walking Meditation has several types:
1. Walking back and forth on a single path
In this type of meditation, there is no change in terrain which might cause shortness of breath. The pace is generally slow, thoughtful and methodical and so the awareness can be turned inwards more easily than in other types.
2. Walking around labyrinth
Labyrinths are like circular mazes and present a single walking route that requires no conscious thought to navigate. Labyrinth walking helps to take away external distractions. As a meditation tool consisting of a walkable single line path, a labyrinth can be a source of solace and can quiet a distracted or overactive mind.
3. Mindful Walking Meditation
This is a lovely to way to feel present in your body and environment. Mindfully walking through the world is where walking meditation excels. It also helps us to better understand our relationship with the world around us by opening your senses and connecting better with the surroundings.
Best Practices to follow during Walking Meditation
There are some best practices that we recommend you to follow while meditating during walking:
1. Walk at a relaxed, fairly slow but normal pace
2. Pay attention to the sensations in your body as you walk.
3. Try not to get attracted towards the sights that you see while walking. Even if you get drawn to these sights, bring back your attention to what is going on internally.
4. Keep your attention on the rhythm of the walking – the alternation of left and right foot.
So, Readers – Set aside at least 20 minutes for your walking meditation, and not trying to combine it with anything else like going on errands or walking briskly for exercise. Let this be a walk just for meditation so that you can sink into the experience with your undivided attention!
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