Four Benefits of Walking Meditation

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 4

“Walk so that your footprints bear only the marks of peaceful joy and complete freedom.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Do you think that meditation should be done only in the sitting posture? Perhaps it’s because most if not all pictures of meditation display someone sitting cross-legged with eyes closed. Most meditation teachers also emphasize sitting meditation.

You may be surprised to know that meditation can be practiced in other postures as well. In the Satipatthana sutta, the Buddha advises us to be mindful in all four postures: sitting, standing, walking and while lying down.

However, if you meditate while lying down, you may tend to doze off sooner or later. And if you meditate while standing still, you face the risk of falling. It’s not easy or practicable to stand in one place and meditate for too long.

Walking meditation, however, is commonly practiced worldwide. In Thailand, meditators do sitting meditation alternately with walking meditation in retreats. In fact, many Thai monks use mindful walking as their main meditation practice. An elderly Thai monk was so fond of walking meditation that when he was no longer able to walk, he instructed his attendant to wheel him around his walking path!

Four Benefits of walking meditation

1. Counter drowsiness:
If you feel drowsy or sluggish, walking meditation is better than sitting with your eyes closed. Often we see not just students but even meditation teachers dozing off on their cushion, especially in the afternoon after lunch.

2. Combat agitation:
Similarly, if you feel very agitated, you may consider walking meditation instead of sitting. Walking mindfully helps to calm you when you feel restless and helps to dissipate some of the excess energy.

3. Combine meditation and exercise:
If you have too many responsibilities and have limited time for exercise and meditation, choose mindful walking instead of sitting meditation.

4. Counteract a sedentary lifestyle:
Reflect on this: we sit all day—during meals, commuting, all day in the office then at home. At the most, we may break this prolonged period of inactivity if we go to the gym for an hour or for a stroll.

In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk, has summed up his findings about the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles in two sentences: “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.

So, if you sit all day, you are literally sitting your life away. Instead of sitting meditation, doesn’t it make more sense to practice walking meditation? (Yes!)

Walking Meditation Action-Step:
Try this right now.
Set a timer for ten minutes and try walking meditation.
While walking, pay attention to the movement of your legs and feet or your incoming and outgoing breath.

Join the conversation:
Have you ever practiced walking meditation?
What was your experience?
Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

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Mindful Walking: Four More Ways to Do Walking Meditation

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 3

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Yesterday, I wrote about four ways to practice walking meditation:

  • Movement of legs and feet
  • Respiration
  • Body sensations
  • Sounds

Today, I’ll discuss four more ways to practice mindfulness during walking meditation:

  1. Sights:
    During mindful walking, we usually keep our eyes downcast to avoid being distracted. However, when we practice mindful seeing, we can look around and notice the sky, trees, birds or any other object and try to be mindful of whatever we are seeing. Similar to mindful listening, we can mindfully pay attention to the objects that we see while walking without judgment or reaction.
    Of course, we can also keep our eyes downcast and be mindful of the ground and other objects. Meditators who practice in this way often report finding money on the ground that others who rush about might not have noticed.
  2. Thoughts:
    During meditation, our mind tends to wander away from the chosen object of meditation: it may wander to events in the past or the future, it may roll in memories and fantasies, either pleasant or unpleasant.
    We soon realize that this is the nature of the mind and as soon as we become aware of this, we bring our attention back to the object of meditation.
    However, when we try to be mindful of thoughts, we pay attention to whatever thoughts are going on in the mind.
    Rarely, when there’s no thought, we understand, “At present, there’s no thought in the mind.” Whenever a thought arises, we understand, “At present, this thought has arisen in the mind.” And so on.
  3. Mental states:
    Sometimes, we may give attention to our present mental state. For example, “At present, the state of the mind is distracted,” or
    “The present mental state is drowsiness,” or
    “At present, the mind is calm.”
    We note our present mental state moment by moment without judging it or reacting to it.
  4. Loving Kindness (mettā):
    In this meditation, we consciously generate good will for ourselves and for all beings.
    For example, we may think,
    “May all my thoughts, words and deeds lead to my happiness, my welfare and my liberation from all suffering.
    “May all my thoughts, words and deeds lead to the happiness of others, the welfare of others, and the liberation of others from all suffering.”Similarly, we can practice gratitude:
    “I am grateful to anyone and everyone who had helped me in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”We can practice forgiveness:
    “I forgive anyone and everyone who may have hurt me in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”We can practice asking for forgiveness:
    “I seek forgiveness from anyone and everyone who I may have hurt in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”

    Finally, we can practice sharing our merits with all beings, especially our parents, family, teachers, and friends, and all beings. This is a good time to share merits with those who have passed away.

So, you can use these eight different ways to practice walking meditation, especially if you find it difficult to practice sitting meditation.

Walking Meditation Action-Step:
Set a timer for ten minutes and try mindful walking. You can focus either on
mindful seeing
mindfulness of thoughts
mindfulness of mental states or
loving kindness (mettā).

Join the conversation:
Have you ever practiced walking meditation?
What was your experience?
Let us know in the comments below.

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The Way to Become a Better Writer

The Way to Become a Better Writer

30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 1)

“If you get in the habit of putting something in front of people every single day, even if it’s only ten people by email, your writing will shift and you will adopt the voice you’re meant to have.” ~Seth Godin

30 Day Blogging Challenge Prologue

Last week, I asked one of my close friends for feedback on my writing.  He said, “I visited your blog and found that you have published only six posts. And the last post is quite old. Why aren’t you posting more regularly on your blog?”

Why indeed? The answer is procrastination and perfectionism. In the words of writing coach Holly Lisle, “Safe never starts, perfect never ends.”

Today, I read a post by Steven Pressfield in which he asked, “What single skill is most critical to the artist?” The answer he says is not insight, passion, capacity for hard work or even the ability to handle criticism.

Instead, he says that the single most critical skill for the artist is the ability to sit down and do her work.

I ruminated on this all day yesterday and recalled ace writer Sean D’Souza‘s advice in an interview. He said that it took him ages to write a single article until he started to write an article every day. The more he wrote, the better he became and now he’s an ace at writing articles. He even teaches an article-writing course.

Long story short, I decided to write and post an article every day on my blog for the next 30 days.

The Rules for the 30 Day Blogging Challenge:

  1. Each post must be at least 300 words, ideally 500 words.
  2. It must be useful for anyone who cares to read it and have at least one actionable tip.
  3. It must require minimum research.
  4. It must be posted by 8 pm daily or before dinner, whichever is earlier. (No article, no dinner.)

I’ve resolved not miss a single day for the next 30 days. In case I miss one day, I’ll write two articles the next day.

Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge

I Googled 30 Day Blogging Challenge and luckily came across Sarah Arrow’s site, where she offers support for the Blogging Challenge with daily emails and a Facebook group.I’ve promptly joined her email list and the Facebook group. It exponentially increases my chances of completing my challenge successfully.

Actionable Tip:

What is your biggest challenge? What are you struggling with?

It may be wanting to write or exercise daily or even to wake up earlier or to watch less TV.

The best way to do it successfully is to create a 30 Day Challenge.

  • Create a plan and make it public.
  • Then do it every day for 30 days.

You will be surprised at the results.

What 30 Day Challenge will you take up? Share with us in the comments below.

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