Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Walking Meditation


I have an aversion to aggressive movement. Hammering a nail is uncomfortable because the jerking, pounding motions feel unnatural.

It's been a problem for me with many work-out routines in that it almost seems I have to be angry to make the motions meaningful.

That's why I've gravitated to things like yoga and tai chi. Qigong. Things that include slow, fluid movements and lots of stretching.

Lately I've been turning my walks into meditation time. (Sitting meditation drives me nuts. I have the attention span of an infant and just can't make it work.) Walking meditation serves the purpose of exercise for my body as well as my mind. It gives me a chance to pay attention to how my feet feel on the ground, the scents around me, the sounds, the atmosphere.

The best thing is that it really helps to somehow integrate my mind and body, to draw them together instead of always feeling somehow at odds with my body - as though it is something separate to be carried around. I've always had an incongruous relationship with my body and feeling disconnected from it.

Those who have a much faster pace of life than mine will probably find it useful for intentionally slowing down and feeling more connected to their environments, not mindlessly going from one task to another.

I've found that it's best to find a place where I will be uninterrupted by traffic. A local park, around the neighborhood or even in a large department store. All of those settings work. At least for me, I've found it needs to be outdoors, not on the treadmill.

Try it. You'll probably like it. :)

~*

15 comments:

hele said...

Qigong is my favourite way of letting the world fade out so that it can become more real.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I've heard that doing this near a body of water can make it even more effective.

Mary said...

Chani,

It's dreamy. Really! When I'm pulling my hair out at work, I'll think of this... :o) Deep breaths help. I inhale, exhale, put sneakers on and head outdoors for 15 minutes.

Mary

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've been looking for a tai chi or quigong class because I think they would be helpful for fibromyalgia.

I used to be a runner but am unable to do jarring activities now. Walking in Nature IS a meditation. There is nothing like smelling flowers to make you realize that your body, mind and spirit are truly connected.

jen said...

i haven't spent much time in the last year walking. but i've gone walking several times in the last week and already i feel a vague renewal.

Say It said...

I hate the treadmill. I hate gyms, I hate arobics. I'm finding my early morning walks wonderful. I can feel me and the environment. THe sun is just rising so things are still quiet. I come home after 1-2 miles feeling refreshed and ready to start a hectic day.

Thailand Musings said...

A few years ago I lost my drivers license for 18 months so had to walk everywhere. Not only was my life much more peaceful and relaxed, but I lost about 20 pounds as well. It may have been an inconvenience, but it was a very positive inconvenience.

slouching mom said...

love love love walking mindfully like this.

Christine said...

lately i've been thinking of my runs this way--as meditation not only for my body but for my soul. but i would like to do some more walks--where the focus is mainly on my mind and meditating that way.
Running on empty

Susanne said...

I really love walking but I find walking meditation a bit awkward. I prefer sitting. But then I've only ever tried walking meditation with others. Maybe I should try again.

Mariposa said...

So so true! I love walking too, allows me to spend time with myself...no treadmill for me! ;)

Ian Lidster said...

I did tai-chi a few years ago and really should get back to it. I found it a great stress reliever.

Carla said...

I too enjoy things like Chi Gong or Yoga...although occasionally I find yoga too slow and I can't seem to slow my mind down enough...I know, I need to work on that. But I do love walking outdoors, and now that the weather is nicer...

Sober Briquette said...

A while back I read something which discussed how modern people are disconnected from their environment, have lost the "chi" of their surroundings, because there is no effort required to drive up a hill or around a curve. When you walk, the energy you exert matches the energy of the terrain.

Angela said...

I admire you, Chani. Thanks for the advice. I need to open my ears and hear it, live it, do it!