Just as we promised in our previous blog, the Center for Natural and Integrative Health brings you some simple instructions for a meditation walk. It might surprise you to know there are dozens of different ways to do a meditation walk.
This amazing stress-relieving activity can bring benefits to your mind, body, and spirit, and it works easily into your daily life.
We promised you a 5 minute routine, but many experts use the steps below to create a simple 3 minute walk or a 10, 15 or 20 minute meditation walk.
As we stated in the previous blog, one of the best things about meditation is that you can customize it for your own use.
How To Create A Meditation Walk
If you do not know where to start, we suggest you check out the following traditional method, and add your own twists to make it work for you.
How will you know it works? Hopefully, you will feel less stressed at the end of the walk than the beginning.
Speaking of beginning, we suggest you find a path that has a point you designate as a beginning and an ending. It should have a fairly smooth surface, and it can be indoors or outside.
Experts suggest, “You practice meditation by walking between these two points, being attentive and mindful of each step. Although the length of the path is primarily determined by individual preference, I have found that a path in the range of 10 to 20 yards is most useful.” (A short path will be traversed several times, back and forth.)
Hopefully also, you will discover, through the meditation walk, that meditation can be helpful and relaxing.
As we stated, there are many styles for creating a walking meditation, but this one works by using an almost everyday pace so you do not have to feel strange or zombie-like.
1. Your Posture: Begin by adjusting your posture so that you stand up Straight. You want to have your back comfortable and upright, but you don’t want to be unnaturally stiff.
Concentrate on your feet touching the ground and simply allow your weight to distribute evenly.
2. Your Hands: Some people feel the need to allow their arms to swing when they walk. That can be your style, but you should know that it might be a distraction.
Here is the classic position for your arms and hands: “Curl the thumb of your left hand in and wrap your fingers around it. Place it just above your belly button. Wrap your right hand around it, resting your right thumb in the crevice formed between your left thumb and index finger.”
It might feel awkward at first, but you might discover it balances you.
3. Your Eyes: Drop your gaze just a little. (Do this on a safe path, not in a cross-walk or a busy intersection.)
Lowering your gaze helps you maintain focus. By the way, you can find out more about the history of the meditation walk and its health benefits for body and mind, at this helpful online resource.
4. Your First Step: Tradition suggests you “step out” with your left FOOT.
Do not think about the past or the present. Simply feel. “Feel it swing, feel the heel hit the ground, now the ball, now the toes.”
5. Repeat: Now, “FEEL the same as the right foot comes forward.”
6. Pace Yourself: Walk at steady pace. A true traditionalist will do a meditation walk slightly slower than a daily life pace. Your style might even include a jog or a run, but it can still involve the focus and mindfulness of a meditation walk.
7. Attention: Keep your focus on the feeling of your feet. The swing, the hit, the ball, the toes. “When your attention wanders, bring it back to the sensations of your feet touching the ground.”
8. The Senses: Although the act of walking itself is a classic meditation activity, many variations incorporate the use of the senses to sharpen focus and increase mindfulness.
For example, A Meditation Nature walk might include using a few minutes to concentrate on each of your senses. See a description of this style of meditation walk from registered nurse, Cheryl Ness, who finds the walking an excellent stress reliever.
She suggests taking in first the details of what you see, then concentrating on sounds, even small ones. You can then focus on the feel of the air on your skin, and within the breath of your body.
A Quote To Ponder Before Your Meditation Walk!
In closing, we leave you these words of John Cianciosi, the author of The Meditative Path: A Gentle Way to Awareness, Concentration and Serenity: “Experiencing the simplicity and peace of being with one step at a time—with nothing else to do and nowhere to go—can be truly liberating.” Each mindful step takes you toward the infinite wonder of the world of reality.”
A Special Note: Your Invitation To Meditation!
We hope your experience with this little meditation walk will inspire you to learn more about meditation with our own Dr. Romie in her ninety minute workshop, “Is There a Right Way To Meditate?” April 8 at 6:00 PM at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine.