Monday, June 12, 2006

Walking with the Breath

"Begin by walking your normal walk a little more slowly. Become aware of your breath, breathing through you nose, and count the number of steps that you go with your inhale. Count the number of steps that you go with your exhale. Continue for several minutes in this way, blending your breathing with your walking, and your walking with your breathing.

Drop your shoulders and keep your back straight. Let the tension in your body fall to your center, where it blends with your breathing. Let your breathing sink to your center as your muscles relax. Use the same kind of breathing pattern as you practiced in lying-down meditation: relax on the inhale, set the hara as the start of the exhale. Practice bringing this rhythm into your walking. To set the hara for walking, place your hand on your lower abdomen (below your navel). Keeping your knees slightly flexed, tuck your tailbone ever so slightly forward. This should have the effect of rocking your hand slightly inward, creating a sense of roundness in your lower abdomen. Don't tuck too much, otherwise walking will be uncomfortable. With the slightest tuck, imagine your center becoming a perfectly round globe, which then becomes the center of your walking motion.

Allow the number of steps that go with each breath to increase as feels natural; as your body relaxes, your breathing will tend to slow down. In particular, let your exhale lengthen, growing two or three times as long as your inhale. Don't force your breath to lengthen; simply invite it to stretch out. Continue to breathe with your walk, allowing your body to move evenly from your center.

Feel your feet touch the earth. Feel the stability of each step as your weight rolls from heel to toe, from heel to toe.

Keep your head erect. Don't watch your feet or the ground as you walk. Let you eyes take in all that is around you, keeping your vision as broad as possible. Rather than focusing narrowly on each object with the center of your eye, see everything all at once by using peripheral vision. Take in the sounds, the smells, the beautiful, the not-so-beautiful; take in everything evenly - and be caught in none of it. If you find your attention wandering off, come back to your breath and blend it back with your step. Come back to your center. Come back to your feet feeling the earth. Come back to your senses.

Continue to walk. Enjoy your breath, body and mind - moving in this simple harmony, alive in this moment, and awake to what this moment offers."
- Ginny Whitelaw, Body Learning, (Berkeley Pub. Co., 1998), p. 56.

Walking Meditation

Walking Quotations

Walking in the Garden

General Index to the Cloud Hands Website

Standing Meditation, Zhan Zhuang, Standing Like a Post

Standing Meditation - General

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:14 PM PDT

    What a short and wonderful introduction to walking meditation.