Day 28 of 30: Mindful Movement
A prominent focus of the last 27 days has been developing your ongoing connection to your body.
When you are sitting, feel that you are sitting. When you are standing, feel that you are standing. When you are lying down, feel that you are lying down.
A seated posture has many benefits, but meditation does not always have to be seated. A critical factor that determines the value of the practice is where is your attention at the time.
Particularly valuable is meditating during movement of your body, such as:
- Walking Meditation
- Qi Gong
- Tai Chi
Why is mindful movement so valuable?
- Being mindful out in the world. It brings your self-connection to your body out into the world, into whole-body movements. It can be a helpful transition of mindfulness from seated on a cushion to being mindful of your body’s sensations at all times.
- Give yourself a break. It can be a nice change of pace. Often times on retreats, walking meditation or yoga are interspersed being seated activities.
- You are an amazing creature! Maybe you take walking for granted? It is an activity that gets you from your bedroom to the kitchen, and from the kitchen to your car. Focusing on the movement in your body is a reminder of all the bones, muscles, ligaments, balance, and attention it takes to walk around and not fall over. Your walking is robust to inclines, declines, steps, obstacles, and other factors.
Today’s practice is walking meditation.
A little prep before today’s practice: Select a location. Depending on the weather, choose a space either inside or outside that you can walk back and forth in a straight line for several feet. If that location is not where you are now, then factor the commute time in your time for practice today. If the location is outside, please choose shoes and other apparel that are appropriate for the weather (e.g., temperature, sun, precipitation) and terrain. Also, if. you are selecting a location outside, please be aware that you may attract some attention if other people are around – “why is this person walking back and forth with no destination?”
- Set your timer for the desired time.
- Decide the starting and ending points of the line in which you will walk back & forth.
- With your eyes open and a slight downward gaze at the ground a few feet in front of you, walk as slowly as possible without losing your balance. It may seem unnatural at first, so take your time to try a few different speeds until you settle on one that feels right for today. A common question is what to do with your arms and hands. Cupping them in front of my belly feels comfortable to me. Another option is to allow them to dangle at your sides.
- As you walk, place your attention on the sensations in your body as you walk. The bottom of your foot as you push off. Your calf in that leg. The shift in the weight to the other foot. Your knee as it bends. And so on.
- Thoughts will arise. As each thought arises, notice it, let it go, and bring your attention back to the sensations in your body.
- If you’re outside, sounds and other sensations (e.g., an insect lands on your cheek) will arise, in addition to the ones from the parts of your body engaged in walking. As each one draws your attention, notice it and return your attention to the sensations of walking.
- When you get to your designated end point, turn around and continue in the opposite direction until you return to your starting point. Continue walking back and forth in a straight line until your timer goes off. You’re not going anywhere. You have no destination. You are walking to pay attention to what it feels like tl walk.
- When the timer goes off, if you have a few more minutes, it may be helpful to reflect on what your overall experience was like while it is still fresh in your. mind.
After today’s practice, the invitation to you is to reflect on what you noticed. Did you notice anything surprising when you focused your attention solely on what it feels like to walk? Was it easier or harder for you to rest your attention on your body in standing movement than to do so when seated (e.g., the sensations of breathing)?
If you’d like, please offer what you learned in today’s walking meditation practice by sharing in the comments below. Please raise awareness of this content by sharing it using the social media icons adjacent to it. Please reach out to me if I can support you.
See you tomorrow!
3 Tips For Meditating When Your Mind Is Busy Something that becomes clear with a regular daily meditation practice is that every day is different. People who have been meditating for decades still encounter days when they sit down to meditate and the challenge is...
Periodically it will be helpful to turn to a reminder of why are you choosing to invest in meditation. Here is a partial list of benefits…