About Walking Meditations
Meditation can involve movement such as walking. It is also known as “sacred geometry” and can be found in many Western and Eastern meditation traditions. In some cultures, walking meditation is valued equally as meditations done while seated. Walking meditation is a good technique for meditating when you feel too restless for a sitting meditation or early in the morning as a gentle kick start to your day.
How to Begin Your Walking Meditation
Get started with walking meditation by accepting this type of walking will be different than what you are used to. You will be walking in a way that makes you totally aware of each body movement. Clear an area of 10 to 15 feet in your home or outside. Use this space to develop a means of walking slowly and relaxed. Don’t worry about where you are going just make each step count. You can do it alone or with a group, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and give yourself 10 to 20 minutes to start off.
Start off by allowing your entire body to relax in the space you have designated to do your walking meditation. Keep the flow going of your leg or foot and try not to get stuck. Remember to stay in full awareness. Focus on one foot at a time, slowly placing your weight onto it as if for the first time.
Feel how your whole body shifts to accommodate this adjustment. Now lift your foot up and feel how it swings across just before it makes contact with the ground. Notice your sole of the foot, the ball of your foot and your toes, ankle, all the way up to your knee, hips, back , arms and neck, and head. Repeat for the other side.
You may even chant to yourself, lifting, swinging, placing, lifting,….or up, forward, down.
Walking meditation has the same foundations in focus, awareness and mindfulness as seated meditation. Whether doing this out in public or at home you may notice judgments about yourself creep up, just as in sitting meditation. Acknowledge the judgment and allow it to leave just as you would in meditation.
Labyrinths in Walking Meditation
A labyrinth is a spiritual tool that enlightens us within the framework of a deep rhythm. The use of a labyrinth for walking meditation is done contemplatively and in the form of a prayerful meditation. There is only one way in and one way out reinforcing the concept of life in that we must chose a path and follow it, accepting whatever comes. Permanent and portable labyrinths have popped up around the Unites States, some modeled after the ancient labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral located in France.
Labyrinth walking can leave you with mixed feelings. Depending on what it was that you needed to work through. People have reported feeling joyful, crying tears of grief or relieve, have come to a better understanding about a difficulty or have felt closer to God.
Ending Your Walking Meditation
Just before ending your walking meditation, complete a body scan, taking note of each body part starting from your feet to your head. Stand still and silent as you assess your being. Notice any relaxation or shift in mood since starting the walking meditation. Thank your body and self for your dedication to mindfulness, undergoing a new experience and deciding to further elevate your meditation practice.