Combine Exercise and Meditation for Total Relaxation
Walking for health has become a well-established idea. But did you know walking for meditation could also benefit health?
In the Buddhist tradition, walking meditation is widely practiced. The idea is to be in the moment, very conscious and very aware of each breath you take as you walk. In essence it doesn’t matter where you go, but rather how you experience the walk itself. In fact, many traditions have a walking meditation. The basic idea is to intentionally consciously feel the sensations of tendons and muscles as you walk. Consciously feel the lifting of each foot as it moves away from the ground. Feel as the soul of the foot touches down on the solid earth once more.
It is an accepted fact that practitioners of tai chi can actually begin to feel the chi flowing from the center of the body, down each leg in turn as they move forward in a walking motion.
If you walk in consciousness for even fifteen minutes a day, you’ll feel your sense of relaxation mount.
Several variations on awareness walking include walking a labyrinth, gratitude walking, and ritualistic walking.
Walking a labyrinth involves following a large circular path towards the center. Again, intention here is extremely important. As you begin to traverse the pathway, it is ideal to leave any worries you may be carrying at the start. Each step is meant to be a conscious experience with a full awareness of the sounds of each step, the sight of each walker moving ahead on the same path. Once arriving at the center, you might meditate, sing or offer prayers.
Labyrinths have been used by various groups throughout the ages and can be found today in many places like churches, parks, or playgrounds. They are widely offered in health spas. Many are elaborately enhanced with beautiful landscaping and gorgeous stones. They are constructed to make meditation easier.
Gratitude walking, similar to a pilgrimage, has the walker’s intention set on the gratefulness encountered in the surrounding scenery, rather than on the culmination of the journey. Good ways to accomplish this is to give gratitude for everything you pass while walking. For example, you might notice the beautiful trees that lift their branches way up to the skies. You might think about their knowledge and wisdom and groundedness. Along the way, give thanks for all the little things that mean so very much in your life. Salute the sun as you approach her, and the stars if you walk at night.
In ritualistic walking, we create a personal habit to enrich our walking journey. A good idea is to walk with the waking sun, giving gratitude as her rays envelop the horizon. In the evening, walk toward the face of the moon, and glory in her fabulous phases. Smile with the heavenly stars.
Whichever way you decide to walk, it is a good idea to follow these simple steps:
1. Set your intention before you begin.
2. Be in total awareness, as you move.
3. Take a few moments to sit in silence after you’re done.
4. Breathe deeply and give thanks for all the wonderful things in your life.
Any of these walking practices are guaranteed to help promote peace by enriching your life.
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