By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Walking meditation is more difficult for most Yoga students, than breath awareness meditation, but it is very beneficial to those students who have difficulty sitting still. Some Yoga practitioners are more restless than most of us, so this is when walking Yoga meditation comes in handy, but we should all give it a try. You will find walking Yoga meditation to be a very rewarding practice.
When you first start practicing walking Yoga meditation, you should set a steady pace and breathe naturally. Once you have established your pace, you should then try to focus on your breath without controlling it.
The first exposure I had with walking meditation was in Kundalini Yoga practice. We would establish how many foot steps per inhale and how many foot steps per exhale. This is your own natural breathing pattern and it may be difficult to get the typical Yogic one part inhale to two part exhale ratio.
An example of the one to two Yogic breathing patterns would be: You inhale for three steps and exhale for six steps. Please bear in mind that each of us will breathe differently. Some of us may find the one to two Yoga breathing to be a strain, so your natural breathing pattern is important to establish.
It will take a while to focus on your natural breathing pattern and determine what the correct ratio is for you. Whatever you do, it should be easy and this should not be a strain.
Later in life, I learned Sanchin Kata at the Uechi Karate School in North Attleboro. Sanchin is an Okinawan Karate form that may seem simple from the outside looking in, but is, in fact, a form of walking meditation.
The breathing is different in Sanchin practice, but the movement is repetitious enough to qualify for an example of meditation in motion. This exercise can teach you many things, but one valuable component is not to worry about your breathing, or anything else in life, if possible.
When you decide to try walking Yoga meditation, you should choose your location carefully. Choose a course that you are familiar with. This must be a safe place for walking Yoga meditation. During day light hours, the Balfour River Walk, Capron Park in Attleboro, or the World War I Memorial Park in North Attleboro, are three places you could try a walking Yoga meditation session. Walking across or through traffic would not be recommended.
Although, it is very beautiful up north, during the foliage season, you would want to keep your awareness very keen. Bears, bucks, wolves, coyotes, and some people, do not have the same appreciation for walking Yoga meditation and you want to be careful about what you stumble across. You should also be aware that people do hunt in season, or out, and are not always where you expect them to be. Once I ran into a hunting party, with a complete entourage of dogs, in a wildlife refuge.
Therefore, carefully choose a walking course that will keep you out of harm’s way. Morning hours are always my favorite. Take the time to develop mindfulness of each step and each breath. Try to walk without talking, when you have a companion with you. This silent walking will keep your mind in the moment and you will be able to take the surroundings in, without disrupting your meditation.
Yoga and Yoga meditation can be carried into many aspects of your life. Walking Yoga meditation is just one example of this.
© Copyright 2006 Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Aura Wellness Center is relocating to downtown Attleboro, MA. The new Aura Wellness Center downtown Attleboro location, will open 11:00 am on Monday, October 2, 2006.
Telephone: 508-222-0092 for Yoga class information.
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