Walking meditation for restless meditators
Updated: Sep 26, 2019
New meditators often struggle with sitting in one place, and keeping the body and mind still. It truly can be challenging, especially for the restless, which is where Zen Buddhist practice of Kinhin, or 'Walking Meditation' becomes a really effective alternative. It's traditionally practiced between long periods of Zazen, or stationary meditation, as it relieves stiffness, and reenergises the body. However, you don't need to be a Buddhist, or a monk to practice it. Nor do you need to combine it with any form of stationary meditation. Just do it on its own and enjoy this calming, centring, mindful, movement based meditation.
Preparation and Practice
This meditation requires walking along a fixed path, so it’s important to decide your route beforehand. You could practice in a room, empty corridor, on a terrace, garden, or along a walking path. Just ensure you avoid traffic, crowds, hurdles, and noise, or wear noise-cancelling headphones. If possible, do it in a space where you can be alone.
Here's how to practice...
Make a soft fist with your left hand, wrapping your fingers lightly around your thumb.
Then place your right hand over your left, with your right thumb across the top of your left hand.
Keep your elbows slightly extended from the sides. They should not be touching your body.
Take a deep breath and slowly start walking along the pre-decided path.
Begin by taking only a half-step with every cycle of breath, which is one long inhalation and exhalation.
During your first half-step, extend your heel first. In the next half step, extend the ball of the foot (where the toes join with the rest of the foot).
Your pace should be very slow, and your awareness should me on your breath.
Keep your eyes slightly lowered and directed ahead. Do not look from side to side, or focus on any one thing.
Practice for ten minutes to begin with, and then increase the duration as per your comfort.
When you stop this deliberate walking, move to a normal pace of walking for a couple of minutes. Resume normal breathing but keep your awareness on your breath.
After you stop, get back to your normal routine.
Stand with your back straight, and relax your body.
Place your hands just below your sternum or heart.
When to practice
You could try this meditation at any time of the day, and often as you like. It's a very useful tool between long periods of being stationary, such as after spending hours at your work station, or even between Netflix binges. You can do this in the midst of a busy work day, as it will give you renewed clarity and concentration. It is also very effective when you're feeling emotionally wired or high strung.
Good for those who find it hard to sit still.
Combines focused awareness with movement.
Helps focus better at work or with academics .
Provides relief during long periods of sitting meditation.
Stills the mind.
Reduces mental chatter.
Lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
Helps with anger management
Controls negative thoughts
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