It is a term that conjures images of the dreadlocked, patchouli wearers who … As you continue walking, every now and then, see if you can consciously tune into and enjoy your peripheral vision. Make note of any sensations, thoughts or feelings and take the time to explore the sensations fully. Bringing visualisation of energy (qi), While breathing in, visualize/feel the field of energy (qi) surrounding you being pulled into your lower, While breathing out, visualize/feel the field of energy (qi) in your. Wish you success in your blogging. Be also aware of your location in space. The air temperature. I think this practice is also called Pradakshina. Notice your state of mind. Try to dedicate your attention to the sensations of walking and let go of everything else. Close your eyes and in your own time, without forcing anything, take three long, deep breaths. Breathe with the suggested pattern for a few times, just standing, before you start with the steps. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and balance your weight evenly on both feet. Is it calm or busy, cloudy or focused? 1, Manitoba, Canada that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. I loved being far away from civilization, carrying a large pack on my back. Look for subtle details you might have missed at first glance. Your breath might be faster than during a normal meditation, but that is absolutely okay. We stress walking back and forth on a single path instead of wandering about because otherwise part of the mind would have to negotiate the path. In this exercise there is inhalation, retention and exhalation, all the same length. You may increase or decrease the number of steps for each phase, according to your capacity. Practitioners walk clockwise around a room, in a very specific posture. This is very normal and simply what the mind does. Apart from the techniques explained, there are other ways in which walking was used a as spiritual practice, though not precisely as meditation: You can find more resources about walking and contemplation in this site. At the bottom of this page you will find a button to download a FREE PDF copy of this post, for easy reference. On days when you want to get out into nature, try walking meditation instead. As a result, we can carry the stress and tension of a... Consciously Engage Your Senses. Traditional kundalini practice, when done intensely and properly, will manipulate subtle energies in the body and psyche, and strange phenomena and hurdles can show up. Around then, I started meditating as a way of relieving stress and anxiety. Or, if you prefer, simply lower your eyes, keeping your gaze soft. Your speed might change during a period of walking meditation. (6 Days 5 Nights) AvaniYoga’s Yoga, Hiking and Meditation retreat is designed to lift you up spiritually and bring you back to Earth, surrounding yourself with wilderness, beauty and finding your inner self. Thank you. Wrap your right hand around it, resting your right thumb in the crevice formed between your left thumb and index finger. Allow yourself to become really curious about what you’re looking at. My favorites are the Tich Nhat Hanh and Mindfulness. This exercise helps reawaken our capacity to take in and enjoy a much wider field of vision: Pick out an object approximately 30-60 feet in front of you to focus on—a particular mark on a tree for example. Excuse the cliché, but mindful hiking is really about remembering to stop and smell the roses (or the eucalyptus, as the case may be). But unless we make a conscious effort to stop every now and again and really pay attention to where we are and what we are doing, we can miss a tremendous amount. W hen you first picture meditation, you likely imagine being in a seated position. Smells can be quite subtle and harder to detect, but if you are patient you will be surprised by what you begin to notice. Gently hold your attention on your breath and, after each exhalation, allow your next breath to come when it’s ready. The Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, which is a notable influence in the modern mindfulness movement and in modern Buddhism, has a simplified approach to walking meditation. Here you synchronize the mental repetition of a mantra with your steps. I’ve since realized that, for me, meditation and being in nature are the two things that, without fail, calm my mind and relax my body. Curl the thumb of your left hand in and wrap your fingers around it. Enjoy your journey, Naveen! Once you have taken three deep breaths, allow your breath to resume its natural rhythm. Feel the movement of the leg as it swings through the air. Allow yourself to make an exaggerated sighing sound on the exhalation, seeing if you can let go a little more with each out breath. You’re always hungry. As you walk, place all your attention at the soles of the feet, on the sensations and feelings as they arise and pass away. Find a circular or very long straight path to minimize the need to consciously change direction. You can also simply note, seeing, hearing, worrying. It may require some previous training in these breathing exercises in seated position for you to be able to do it comfortably. It is usually done much slower than normal walks, and involves either coordination with the breathing, or specific focusing practices. I didn’t know many people who were interested in hiking and I was too shy to join a hiking group. How long you decide to walk in silence is entirely up to you, but I’ve found that 30-40 minutes works well. Take the time to feel the stability of the ground. Allow yourself to become really aware of where you are. This is the first, and so far, the only comprehensive study of walking as a contemplative practice. Stand upright, with eyes cast down about a meter and a half in front (to prevent distraction), not looking at anything in particular. Allow yourself a few moments to settle into your body. Allow your arms to hang down by your sides once more and take a few moments to simply notice and enjoy your re-awakened peripheral vision. And also “May I be happy, may I be at peace, may I be free from all suffering”. Ii also enjoy the Therevavada option (it was the first method I was introduced to) – but do most of my moving meditation with tai chi. No large equipment is needed, at least until a certain level is reached, the costs are relatively low and the benefits are assured. Walk back and forth along the same short path. Hiking's effectiveness as a stress-relief technique comes from a combination of healthy things that hiking rolls into one. Some of us have meditated for years, but most of us have little or no experience with meditation. Meditation is a very personal practice because what is relaxing for one person may be distracting for another. Read More, People can help improve our lives, but they can also stunt our progress. This is a really great walking meditation for those with a very active mind and the technique we recommend starting with. You can practice barefoot, or wearing light shoes. Even after you’ve finished the exercise and started walking again, try to remember from time to time to slow Innen Ray Parchelo Unlike seated meditation, when walking your eyes are open, body is standing and moving, and there is a bit more interaction with the outside world. Because the body is moving, it is easier to be mindful of the body sensations and anchored in the present moment; for this reason, many people find walking meditation easier than seated meditation. Bring your awareness to your body, noticing how your body feels as you are standing, and becoming aware of all the sensations going on. The ones from Theravada and Zen are more concentrative practices, to really help deepen the meditation. In 1996, Bantam Press published this book by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The idea of this exercise is to coordinate different types of pranayama (breathing regulation) with the stepping. Whenever your mind wanders from this focus, you bring it back to your foot, and the sensations for the contact with the ground. As you develop your ability of focus while walking like this, by time you can also integrate it in less formal walks in your daily life. This is my time. I liked your post so much that I mentioned it in today’s post. Wow, that’s great to hear, Rupal! One thing most people lack experience while hiking. I love mindful meditation and I walk twice a week, but I never thought about putting the two together! See if you can notice any such commentary and gently guide your attention back to the experience of listening. I usually go for 9, 27, 81 or 243 as nine is the basis for 108, the most sacred of numbers in Yoga. Meditation is Secular. So, needless … (Gil Fronsdal). The ability of focusing, developed in walking meditation, is easily carried into our daily life. Walking meditation is more than a simple stroll in the park. This employs the principle of non-doing (wu wei) to move without conscious mental effort, without destination or purpose, aimlessly. Notice the sensation of air on your face, and pause. In this practice, you can walk at a normal pace. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. I have a couple of young friends that are going to get hiking soon. When we enter the present moment deeply, our regrets and sorrows disappear, and we discover life with all its wonders. In other words, the attention is not laser focused on the soles of the feet; instead, it is present to the variety of sensations and perceptions of the present moment. 10 Ways that Hiking is Like a Meditation Retreat: 1. I welcome inquiries and collaborators. Place it just above your belly button. While not technically, a walking meditation, when one enters a temple it is customary to circle a deity in a clockwise motion, to represent the passage from daily to spiritual life. I meditate each morning for 15-20 minutes in a kneeling meditation posture. Here are some things to keep in mind, regardless of the “type” of walking meditation you choose. Walk normally, but focus your attention on the dantien. The Daoist martial arts (like Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi) have very specific ways of walking. It really helps to get me into the right state of receptiveness. That leaves just about 10% of our attention for our bodies. Get practices, tips, and special offers delivered straight to your inbox. This is called. If you habitually lead with the head, chest, or pelvis, you may find this exercise grounding and energizing. Start by turning around slowly and deliberately taking in the 360-degree view as you do. Do this a few times just standing, until you get used to the rhythm. Continue walking when you have finished looking. At any time if you feel the mind is going deeply into tranquility, and you feel like just standing still, or sitting down to practice, then do so. Look up—explore the sky, the patterns in the clouds, the canopy of trees above. If you’re looking to lower your stress levels, you may find it useful to do a seated … It is surprising how much detail you can take in even in a brief moment. This post complements our mega-article on meditation techniques. Different from other techniques, this one makes use of affirmations in order to produce positive mental states. Hiking with friends while enjoying great conversation and laughter is one of my favorite activities. I was captivated by the breathtaking beauty of the ever-changing landscape—scrambling to the top of Cradle Mountain or sitting by the campfire at night under tall, majestic gum trees. You certainly can’t expect to keep thoughts of your life completely at bay as you walk in silence, so don’t try. Our true home is in the present moment. "Hiking Meditation" is a hiking group in Marin California that combines hiking with meditation. Having enjoyed some (if not all) of the above mindfulness exercises, walking in silence is a wonderful way to enjoy the latter part of your hike. So I will not explore them in this post. Keep the body and mind walking and breathing in a well-balanced, concentrated way. The only practices I found were a couple by Swami Sivananda (in his old-school book The Science of Pranayama), and one by Swami Satyananda (in his book Sure Ways to Self-Realization) – of which I present adaptations here. Types of Meditation – An Overview of 23 Meditation Techniques, Episode 15: Dr. Rick Hanson Interview on Mindful Relationships. Walking is an activity that is aimed at practically everyone: all you need is a pair of hiking shoes and a great desire to explore. Instead of focusing on the soles of your feet, you can do loving-kindness meditation while you walk. After reading what was available on walking meditation, which typically advise focusing on the flow of our “in” and “out” breaths, I developed my own techniques for practicing mindful walking and hiking. Here, the rhythm for inhalation-retention-exhalation is 1:4:2, which is more challenging. Enjoy a … Do your best to experience sounds as pure sensations. This practice, also known as Parikrama, is common in larger temples but it can also be done around trees, home idols, and even your spiritual master. Please share and help me spread the word about meditation practices. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing; carry whatever is needed to minimize self-consciousness, as long as it is lightweight. I’ve always loved being in nature. Or focus on the sights, sounds, and smells around you. You can learn more about his approach and philosophy through a book he co-authored. As a generalization, we can say that the Mindfulness and Thich Nhat Hanh walking meditations are the simplest to start. If powerful emotions or thoughts arise and call your attention away from the sensations of walking, it is often helpful to stop walking and attend to them. Ajahn Nyanadhammo suggest that, if while doing walking meditation you find that you’re getting drowsy, then you may need to activate the mind using a mantra, rather than calm it, so that it becomes more focused and awake. The meditation technique you will learn can also be used in the midst of daily activities. Physical activity. Well, at vipassana meditation retreats, the management feeds you only two meals a day (apparently, hunger helps you to meditate). Throughout your hike try taking “snapshots” with your mind. Allow yourself to feel grounded, connected, and supported. Kiss the earth with your feet, imprinting gratitude and love as you walk. The next time you head out for a hike or walk, amp up the benefits by turning your trek into a meditation. This is the walking meditation with the slowest pace. In this exercise simply stop and enjoy a few moments in silence as you consciously engage your sense of listening. Even intermittent moments of focus have been shown to have a calming effect on both mind and body. Indeed, walking meditation is very peaceful and pleasing. Allow your gaze to soften as you explore the object. To help keep the mind in the process, you may also mentally note what is happening (“lifting”, “moving”, “placing”, etc.). Reduce anxiety. Well, this post gives me some good ideas for our hiking. While a regular seated meditation practice is a very important part of my life, I find opportunities to practice mindfulness in many other ways. It has since inspired the establishment of The Padakun Centre for Contemplative Walking, the first research centre concerned with the theory, forms and value of walking as a contemplative activity. Pay attention to the experience of walking, and keep your awareness engaged in this experience. The constant balancing and rebalancing of the body. You can use the phrase — lift, move, place — to pay attention to each step that you take. Just see how the experience feels to you. Before setting off on your hike, take a few moments to allow yourself to come into the present moment (try the “Note the Pause between Breaths” practice), letting go of any thoughts or concerns that might be on your mind. Walking back and forth, the little interruption when you stop at the end of your path can help to catch your attention if it has wandered. Be constantly mindful of all sensations that arise in the sole of the feet. Feel your feet touching the ground and let your weight distribute evenly. Breath in for 3, 6 or 12 steps. Tune into the sights, sounds, smells, and textures around you. Before starting any of the following exercises, take some time to really calm the breathing. © 2021 Mindful Communications & Such, PBC, A Gentle Movement Practice to Connect With Your Brave Heart, How to Plant Yourself in an Environment that Enriches You, Sharon Begley: Remembering a Top-Flight Science Journalist. This is a 2.75 hour (3 mile) hike through oak, bay and redwood trees on the Palos Colorados-Sequoia Bay View Loop Trail in Joaquin Miller Park. In traditional Yoga, meditation seems to be always seated. Other than that, it is safe to assume that many of the benefits of seated meditation also apply to walking meditation. Now start walking. I find articles and books on meditation are narrowly focused and should be used as a guide, not an ultimatum. There are many health benefits of walking. That leaves just about 10% of our attention for our bodies. I have started meditating while riding my bicycle recently and it feels fantastic! If after a while you notice that you are saying “right” for the left foot, and vice-versa, you know that your attention has wandered. Immersing yourself in your surroundings by consciously engaging your senses will leave you feeling calmer, happier and more relaxed, whether you’re hiking the Inca trail or walking through your local park. Some people find it useful to keep the eyelids half closed. Read More. Mindfulness can be cultivated in many ways throughout the day. Meditation, or any activity often called Meditation, holds some stigma. The sounds around you. Such awesome tips in regard to hiking, I’m sure most people can take notes from this article. I meditate 24/7 in all I do. Take a few moments to tune into the sounds around you, and pause. Six different techniques will be covered. Let your weight come fully into each step before you take the next one, and find a pace that allows your breathing to have a steady rhythm. Notice if your mind wants to label or judge sounds. In each step, focus on the feelings of loving-kindness, and think “May all beings be happy, may all beings be at peace, may all beings be free from all suffering“. When you take your first step, you count 1. In Japanese Zen, this is called kinhin. And also into seated practice, when there are actually less sensory stimuli. Walking meditation is quite different. It’s when I feel an almost instantaneous sense of calm and peace, coupled with an intense awareness of being alive. I’ll be curious to know which walking meditation technique works best for you. Thank you, Janet! Pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. And the Daoist ones usually are more energy work. For those that do long sessions of seated practice, walking meditation can be helpful to overcome the torpor and lethargy that unavoidably comes. Can you elaborate more why you do not prefer treadmill? If not, you can explore them all and see what fits your needs better. Catherine Morey-Nase, founder of The WellBeing Corner, is a mindfulness meditation teacher who runs Mindful Hiking Days and Mindful Meanders in and around Melbourne, Australia. We rarely pause between activities. See if you can simply allow sounds to come to you. Your body will start to relax and your mind will begin to settle. I once did one hour of kinhin practice (during a night long meditation) and covered only about 150 meters! If you know of other Yoga-based walking meditation, let me know and I’ll update this section. When you stop and enjoy something to eat, try eating in silence for a few minutes. Walking meditation is a wonderful complement to your seated meditation practice. as a way of beginning, for a few minutes, or at any time during the meditation. Find a flat terrain path outdoors where it’s not important to pay attention to the surroundings. When they are no longer compelling, you can return to the walking meditation. An added benefit is that, when done for extended times, walking meditation can build strength and stamina.” (, The activity of walking, in itself, brings several health and well-being. He suggests the use of a mantra like buddho, repeating it quietly to yourself over and over and over again. When you reach 10, you say 10, then 10, 9 for the next two steps; then 10, 9, 8 for the next three steps, etc. Now stretch both arms out in front of you and begin to wiggle your fingers. Food already tastes so much better when you’re out in nature—and all the more so when you eat mindfully. Stand up straight with your back upright but not stiff. This is most typically done before Pooja, and any sitting meditation that is done in a temple. Mindfulness In Daily Life. Continue to hold your focus on this point and allow yourself to blink whenever you need to. Note the sensations felt. Curious to know if anybody else has tried this and what they think. Taking snapshots in this way enables you to replay the loveliest moments of your hike—the sound of birdsong, the feeling of the sun on your face, the smell of wet dirt—at a later time in vivid detail. Try walking meditation on a treadmill and then on the earth, and you will feel the difference. 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