Walking meditation is a great way to begin integrating the power of meditation into your daily life. It is the first stage of meditation in action, that is, learning to be meditative while "out and about" in the world.
It is great to do while, for example, taking a walk in the park, at the beach, or in another natural setting.
Walking meditation is often recommended for people who are doing a lot of sitting meditation. If you are getting to sleepy, or your awareness is getting to "muddy," walking meditation can perk you up. Alternately, if you are getting to concentrated and mentally "stiff," walking meditation is a perfect way to loosen up a bit.
Pay close attention to the physical activity of walking slowly
- Before walking, stand still in an open, balanced posture. Bring your awareness to the feeling of your feet touching the ground.
- Now begin walking. Keep your gaze fixed on the ground about six feet in front of you. This will help you to avoid distraction.
- Note and mentally label three parts of each step you take. The labels are “lifting,” “pushing,” and “dropping.”
- Lifting – when you are picking your foot up
- Pushing – as you are moving it forward
- Dropping – as you are lowering it to the ground
As you make each label, pay very close attention to the actual physical sensations associated with each of these actions.
- After these three components become clear, you can add three more, so that the entire sequence is: “raising,” “lifting,” “pushing,” “dropping,” “touching,” and “pressing.”
- Your mind will probably also engage in thinking extraneous thoughts, but just allow these to go on in the background. Your foreground attention should stay on the physical sensations of walking.
- If you find that you have been completely lost in thought, stop walking for a moment and label the thinking as “thinking, thinking, thinking.”
- Then re-establish your awareness on the feeling in your feet, and begin the walking meditation again.
- A typical session of walking meditation lasts a half an hour.
Walking meditation is a common practice in Vipassana and Zen Buddhism.
Make sure to watch where you are going, especially if you are around traffic, other people, etc.