Thursday, 2 January 2014

Walking Yoga

We learn to walk as one year olds and most of us never revisit the technique unless we are participating in professional walking races. The technique of walking becomes instinctive and almost involuntary, reducing the effort involved in an activity which we are bound to do every day of our active lives. It is the same with breathing.

Walking Yoga is simply making this instinctive, involuntary activity a conscious activity. It is commonly called Walking Meditation. The Buddhist monks take this up as a regular part of their mind training.

Here is a brief STEP-wise description of the technique:
  1. Walk at a slow, relaxed pace, being fully aware of each step. Walk for the sake of walking.
  2. Become aware and acknowledge the space around you, the sounds, smell, people around and the weather.
  3. While taking the step, pay careful attention to the movement of the foot as it is initially raised off the ground, moved through the air, and placed on the ground again.
  4. Observe what is driving you forward as you walk. The core (navel region) should be the driving force.
  5. Awareness to the shoulder region and conscious freeing of the shoulders and neck.
  6. Awareness to the breath, observing the pattern of breath in correspondence to the Steps.
  7. Synchronizing breath with the steps (1 step: 1 breath; 2 steps: 1 breath etc.) one could simply count the number of steps while walking.
If while walking you become aware that your mind has wandered away from the step, clearly note the distraction and gently, but firmly, bring your attention back to the step.

Walking meditation may be practiced in a number of ways that require different degrees of concentration. You could set aside some time to solely do this or do this mediation during your walk to the office from the parking lot, to the cafeteria, to the grocery store etc.

As with any meditation method, this technique can be mastered only with regular practice and patient effort. The benefits are well worth it. Experiencing the simplicity and peace of being one STEP at a time can be truly liberating.

Let this new year make a simple resolution to walk, count STEPS and GetActive.

Contribution: Pradeep – CEO of a1000yoga |
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd. |

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