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Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation is one of many forms of relaxation you can practice to alleviate stress and clear your mind. With most meditation techniques you need to be lying down with your eyes closed, but with walking meditation, you can practice it anytime, any place and everyday. So many simple, beautiful things in life so often go unnoticed by the masses - that precious little purple flower between the cracks of the concrete you walk on every day, the glistening of the dew on the grass as the rising sun shines its rays. The list goes on endlessly, and if you spend a moment of reflection, you will agree that the majority of the time you are so busy or lost in thought that you don’t take the time to be aware and relaxed.

Have you every really paid attention to the way you walk? Not just whether or not you swing your hips and how you look in the mirror, but truly connected and focus on nothing else but every little movement and muscle your body uses in the process of taking one step followed by another?  Most simply put, walking meditation is just that:  Breathing and slowly, with total deliberation, placing one foot in front of the other. As you increase your awareness through your walking meditation, more movements will be noticeable to you. When you take a step, it involves a lot more than just the foot or leg, and this is only one of the many things in life so many people can go without ever really appreciating the intricacies of.

Like all meditation practices, the intention is to clear your mind of all thought and worry, and focus instead, making your walking your one single, initial contemplation, your body will react by letting go of tensions and relaxing. When thoughts do come to your mind, you simply give them brief consideration, and then return to focusing on your walking.

The feeling can’t be described, but if you have meditated before, you know what it is like to enter the state of pure relaxation: That point where nothing in the world matters, and you could blissfully stay under your own steam endlessly! With walking meditation, you are also learning about yourself and something you do everyday without thinking. You could even realize through doing walking meditation that there are some techniques that may be having a negative impact on your posture or long term physical health. By using mediation while walking, you can actually realign and re-program yourself to develop better walking techniques.

Walking meditations are great as a group practice as well. Corporations have introduced walking meditations into their staff development days, and some new age schools are offering walking meditation sessions in breaks as a way to unwind and de-stress. It can also be a very refreshing practice, and if you are fortunate enough to visit a Buddhist monastery or retreat, you will see the monks walking in meditation constantly.
Everyone could do with becoming more self aware instead of rushing through life so blind to our own individual ways. Walking meditation is just one of the small, simple practices you can introduce on a regular basis that will benefit your mind and body, and help you find your own way that is most comfortable and healthy for you. With total deliberation and focused consideration you will achieve “satori”, which is the clear mind and relaxed body being as one, and is the goal of everyone who practices meditation.

By Joyce Bingham

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