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The way to Observe Strolling Meditation

Man walking happilyIllustrations by Tomi Um.

Leslie Booker gives step-by-step instruction.

Within the 4 foundations of mindfulness, as specified by the famed Satiphatthana Sutta, the Buddha gives 4 postures for practising meditation:

A monk is aware of, when he’s strolling,
“I’m strolling”;

he is aware of, when he’s standing,
“I’m standing”;

he is aware of, when he’s sitting,
“I’m sitting”;

he is aware of, when he’s mendacity down,
“I’m mendacity down”;

or simply as his physique is disposed
so he is aware of it.

Strolling meditation is commonly described as a meditation in movement.

On this observe, you place your full consideration on the method of strolling—from the shifting of the load in your physique to the mechanics of putting your foot. Strolling meditation is an integral a part of retreat life in lots of traditions and is used to offset and shift the vitality of sitting observe. It’s a bridge to combine observe into every day life and could be extra accessible than a sitting observe for many individuals.

Discover an unobstructed area the place you possibly can stroll in a straight line for about ten toes. This brief strolling distance is the instruction given within the Theravada custom. Others favor to stroll for better distances. Carry your consideration all the way down to your toes and slowly shift your weight back and forth and entrance to again. Being in naked toes can carry extra consciousness to what must occur within the physique to create stability.

Leslie Booker, How to Meditate, Walking Meditation, Shambhala Sun, Lion's Roar, Buddhism

Coming into bodily stillness, elevate the crown of your head up, slide your shoulders down and away out of your ears, and elevate your chest with dignity and satisfaction, as if you happen to have been a king or a queen. You possibly can clasp your palms behind your again, maintain them in entrance of your physique, or let your arms dangle loosely to the facet.

Lifting your proper leg, discover the load redistribution in your physique. Place your consideration on what the left facet of your physique must do to carry your full weight—spreading the toes, participating the core. Lengthen the best leg ahead, putting the heel on the bottom and rolling onto the ball of the foot. As your weight shifts ahead, discover how the heel of your left foot begins to elevate. Swing the left leg ahead and repeat.

Leslie Booker, How to Meditate, Walking Meditation, Shambhala Sun, Lion's Roar, Buddhism

Including verbal cues is a good way to ascertain synchronization and rhythm throughout the physique. Because the thoughts begins to wander, use a easy verbal cue like “lifting, transferring, putting” as a reminder to carry the thoughts again to the physique. Incorporating a gatha, a brief verse to help observe, is a standard method utilized in Thich Nhat Hanh’s communities. Right here’s one which could be used for strolling meditation:

(Inhaling) “I’ve arrived”; (Respiration out) “I’m residence.”

(Inhaling) “Within the right here”;
(Respiration out) “Within the now.”

(Inhaling) “I’m strong”;
(Respiration out) “I’m free.”

(Inhaling) “Within the final”; (Respiration out) “I dwell.”

Leslie Booker, How to Meditate, Walking Meditation, Shambhala Sun, Lion's Roar, Buddhism

If you get to the top of your brief strolling path, come to a whole cease and take a breath. Flip 1 / 4 of the way in which, perhaps taking one other breath, then totally flip all the way in which round, going through the place you simply got here from. Begin over with discovering your posture and establishing your stability. Once more elevate, transfer, and place the foot.

Firstly of this observe, you would possibly discover that your steps are very calculated and robotic. See if you happen to can start to seek out extra fluidity as you join the breath with motion, maybe letting go of the phrases and simply permitting this to be a completely embodied observe. Begin with a few ten-minute session, slowly constructing as much as 30–45 minutes.

When you’ve gotten come to the top of your observe, stand nonetheless, seeing the place there may be vitality within the physique and what’s nonetheless. Discover what has risen to the highest and what has been let go of.

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