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Walking meditation is an active experience of inner serenity. By combining the mindfully-directed physical action of walking with meditative inner awareness, you bring the body and mind into oneness. It ia good way of physical vigilance, enhance circulation and digestion, reduce stress and depression, and improve sleep patterns.

Uphill walking meditation
Walking meditation is a good way to take a break from sitting meditation without losing the continuity of your meditative mindset.

3 Essentials

For ease of the body, stand straight with your lower back and the back of your neck vertically aligned. Tuck in your lower belly and chin. Let both arms hang naturally at your sides, or keep both hands on the lower stomach with the palms open (place the left palm on top of the right hand). Keep your gaze forward, but lower it about 15 degrees, and contain your mental focus.

Walk naturally and slowly in a counterclockwise circular path; or walk straight forward, turn around, and walk back to where you began.

Warm-up Breathing
As a preparation for walking breathing, in a standing position, inhale as deeply as you can, and expel as much air as you can. Repeat this 3 times. This is called up-and-down breath or vertical breath, meaning you are moving the diaphragm in an up-and-down movement.

For a beginner, I recommend the 12 second horizontal breath method (3-3-4-2 for inhale-hold-exhale-hold).

After a few days of practice, you may be able to practice the 15 second horizontal breath method (3-3-6-3 for inhale-hold-exhale-hold). Whatever you do, don’t push yourself too far. Stay within your comfort range.

5 Ways of Walking Breathing

1-1 walk-breath: Take a left step forward and inhale; take a right step forward and exhale. Walk slowly and breath accordingly. Walk 9 left-right steps, turn, and repeat.

1-2 walk-breath: Take a left step forward and inhale; take a right step and left step forward while exhaling. This practice, requiring left-right coordination, helps you expand your exhalation to twice as long as your inhalation. If you feel uncomfortable or distracted, you may skip this method and come back to it when you have more experience with walking breathing.

2-4 breath-walk: Take 2 steps forward while inhaling, and take four steps forward while exhaling. In 2-4 breath-walk, you walk much faster than in the 1-1 walk-breath. Repeat 5 times (total of 30 steps), pause, turn, and resume in the opposite direction. Or keep walking in a circular path for 5 to 10 minutes.

1-7 breath-walk: This exercise is for advanced practitioners. Inhale deeply at your first left step forward, exhale for the next 7 steps. Repeat 9 sets of this exercise (total of 71 steps), turn, and resume in the opposite direction. Or keep walking in a circular path for 5 to 10 minutes.

Free Walk: Once you are comfortable with all of these methods, you can freely explore the way you would like to walk while meditating or meditate while walking.

Final Thoughts
Any combinations of the 5 walking breathing meditation methods can make your practice more challenging, creative and enjoyable. Adding an additional component to your walking meditation would be fun: natural environment. The things in nature can be a distraction or an inspiration during meditation. How about listening to birds during walking, consciously? Why not gazing at the daffodils along a country road or smelling the morning fog blowing in from the ocean?

Nature is powerful, silently expanding my awareness. Connecting, unconditionally, deeply to what is inside me. In this, I walk as I am as the things in nature sing as they are, with no intention to interrupt.

Young woman doing walk-meditation in her garden [model with a simple catalogue tattoo]

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