hiking meditation techniques

(6 Days 5 Nights) AvaniYoga’s Yoga, Hiking and Meditation retreat is designed to lift you up spiritually and bring you back to Earth, surrounding yourself with wilderness, beauty and finding your inner self. Walking is an activity that is aimed at practically everyone: all you need is a pair of hiking shoes and a great desire to explore. An indoor walking path will also work. If you’re looking to lower your stress levels, you may find it useful to do a seated … As a result, we can carry the stress and tension of a... Consciously Engage Your Senses. Now for a few minutes, expand your attention to sounds. Throughout your hike try taking “snapshots” with your mind. This is called. Catherine Morey-Nase, founder of The WellBeing Corner, is a mindfulness meditation teacher who runs Mindful Hiking Days and Mindful Meanders in and around Melbourne, Australia. Allow yourself to become really curious about what you’re looking at. from 1.560 USD / Days: 11 / Difficulty: 2 of 5 (Moderate) Trekking and Meditation in Helambhu (Yolmo Land), Lodge 11 Days Helambhu or Yolmo is situated north of Kathmandu, close to the border to Tibet. One of my most memorable childhood experiences was hiking The Overland Track, a six-day hike from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair in Tasmania with my parents when I was 12. Pranayama is a huge topic and there are many powerful practices. While it can feel a little uncomfortable at first, there is something quite wonderful about shared silence. At the bottom of this page you will find a button to download a FREE PDF copy of this post, for easy reference. Mindfulness can be cultivated in many ways throughout the day. When we enter the present moment deeply, our regrets and sorrows disappear, and we discover life with all its wonders. To help keep the mind in the process, you may also mentally note what is happening (“lifting”, “moving”, “placing”, etc.). Walking can be quite helpful after a meal, upon waking from sleep, or after a long period of sitting meditation. Or you can use labels such as “stepping, stepping” or “left, right”. Walking meditation is a wonderful complement to your seated meditation practice. As the foot comes down again into contact with the path, a new feeling arises. To many, it is associated with “Woo”, which has the tendency to turn folks off to it. The next four steps are 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on all the way up to 10. No large equipment is needed, at least until a certain level is reached, the costs are relatively low and the benefits are assured. I’ll be curious to know which walking meditation technique works best for you. Walking Meditation — The Ultimate Guide 12 min read 1) Theravada Walking Meditation 2) Zen Walking Meditation (Kinhin) 3) Thich Nhat Hanh Walking Meditation 4) Mindfulness Walking Meditation 5) Yoga Walking Meditation 6) Daoist Walking Meditation Practitioners walk clockwise around a room, in a very specific posture. This is a really great walking meditation for those with a very active mind and the technique we recommend starting with. Studies suggest that being outdoors may help decrease anxiety and depression, increase feelings of well-being, and bring a sense of restoration. Feel your feet touching the ground and let your weight distribute evenly. It’s a powerful tool at your disposal. In this post I will explore the importance and the “how to” of walking meditation in the traditions of Buddhism, Yoga, and Daoism (Taoism). We use our peripheral vision less and less in our everyday lives due to the increasing amount of time most of us spend looking at one type of screen or another. Walking Meditation Techniques, Health Benefits of Walking. An added benefit is that, when done for extended times, walking meditation can build strength and stamina.” (, The activity of walking, in itself, brings several health and well-being. At times of strong emotions or stress, walking meditation may be more relaxing than sitting. In Thailand monasteries, many monks will walk for long hours as a way of developing concentrations – sometimes as much as ten or fifteen hours a day! (…) Walking in a circle is a technique that is sometimes used, but the disadvantage is that the continuity of a circle can conceal a wandering mind. They are presented in no particular order, and are not requisites for one another. A certain mental effort is required to, say, avoid a chair or step over a rock. If after a while you notice that you are saying “right” for the left foot, and vice-versa, you know that your attention has wandered. That leaves just about 10% of our attention for our bodies. I didn’t know many people who were interested in hiking and I was too shy to join a hiking group. It can take you places that simple awareness in daily life just can’t. Immersing yourself in your surroundings by consciously engaging your senses will leave you feeling calmer, happier and more relaxed, whether you’re hiking the Inca trail or walking through your local park. I meditate each morning for 15-20 minutes in a kneeling meditation posture. And also offer a chance for the body to replenish. A great start for me.. after reading your article, i have been doing walking mindfullness meditation at lunch time, in a park by the water.. peaceful and easy to focus. Walk back and forth along the same short path. If you can’t let go of it, stop walking and do looking meditation. In “The Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation”, the authors Arinna Weisman and Jean Smith also suggest that: In addition to noting, walking by counting – a focus on developing stability and mental concentration – is another practice that can assist you when your mind is distracted. Instead of focusing on the soles of your feet, you can do loving-kindness meditation while you walk. When you take your first step, you count 1. While not technically, a walking meditation, when one enters a temple it is customary to circle a deity in a clockwise motion, to represent the passage from daily to spiritual life. When they are no longer compelling, you can return to the walking meditation. Kiss the earth with your feet, imprinting gratitude and love as you walk. As you walk on, play it over in your memory for another 30 seconds or so. With each complete breath (exhalation and inhalation), take a small step (the length of your foot), beginning with the right foot. The one from Yoga is most useful for training the breath. As a result, we can carry the stress and tension of a previous activity, conversation, or train of thought over into what we are about to do. See if you can simply allow sounds to come to you. Six different techniques will be covered. For those that do long sessions of seated practice, walking meditation can be helpful to overcome the torpor and lethargy that unavoidably comes. In Japanese Zen, this is called kinhin. Curious to know if anybody else has tried this and what they think. In this exercise there is inhalation, retention and exhalation, all the same length. 10 Ways that Hiking is Like a Meditation Retreat: 1. Enjoy your journey, Naveen! Now look closely at an object that catches your attention, such as a leaf or the bark on a tree. A period of silent walking offers you an opportunity to consciously engage your senses in any number of ways, relaxing both mind and body as you do. Again as the foot lifts, mentally note the feeling as it arises. Walk normally, but focus your attention on the dantien. This short pause between breaths can be very calming. I’ve since realized that, for me, meditation and being in nature are the two things that, without fail, calm my mind and relax my body. I once did one hour of kinhin practice (during a night long meditation) and covered only about 150 meters! Start by turning around slowly and deliberately taking in the 360-degree view as you do. Here you synchronize the mental repetition of a mantra with your steps. I recommend doing some research and give it a shot! It has since inspired the establishment of The Padakun Centre for Contemplative Walking, the first research centre concerned with the theory, forms and value of walking as a contemplative activity. Formal walking meditation techniques vary in different streams of Theravada Buddhism. The first few times around the path, look at everything to acclimate to the surroundings; then ignore everything. Or, if you prefer, simply lower your eyes, keeping your gaze soft. This employs the principle of non-doing (wu wei) to move without conscious mental effort, without destination or purpose, aimlessly. What do you think about doing walking meditation on a treadmil? Place your awareness on that sensation, as it is felt through the sole of the foot. Allow your awareness to move up through every part of the body, noticing the sensations as you walk. Be aware of the beginning, the middle, and the end of your stepping. This is the first, and so far, the only comprehensive study of walking as a contemplative practice. Keeping your arms straight, and continuing to wiggle your fingers, slowly move your arms away from each other while still holding your gaze on your chosen point of focus. When you practice this way, your … Allow your arms to hang down by your sides once more and take a few moments to simply notice and enjoy your re-awakened peripheral vision. You’re always hungry. It is a term that conjures images of the dreadlocked, patchouli wearers who … Before setting off on your hike, take a few moments to allow yourself to come into the present moment (try the “Note the Pause between Breaths” practice), letting go of any thoughts or concerns that might be on your mind. Bring your awareness to your body, noticing how your body feels as you are standing, and becoming aware of all the sensations going on. For instance, it could be 3-3-3-3 or 6-6-6-6. And when you add a little extra awareness to the experience, your outing can benefit both your body and your mind. You can learn more about his approach and philosophy through a book he co-authored. Being outdoors increases well-being, helps alleviate stress and anxiety, promotes creativity, assists with recovery from mental fatigue, helps restore attention, boosts the brain’s ability to think, and engages the senses. We naturally use our peripheral vision when scanning the night sky for a shooting star, for example. Instead of being a practice of concentration (focused attention) – as it is in the Theravada tradition – it is more of an open monitoring practice. Be aware of each move, of each step. The next time you head out for a hike or walk, amp up the benefits by turning your trek into a meditation. Hiking's effectiveness as a stress-relief technique comes from a combination of healthy things that hiking rolls into one. On the next two steps, you say 1, 2. See if you can sense the pace that keeps you most intimate with and attentive to the physical experience of walking. Can you elaborate more why you do not prefer treadmill? Walking can be done mindlessly, or while thinking of other things. Wow, that’s great to hear, Rupal! “Falling in love with meditation” is the key to going deep in it. Most meditation techniques are relatively simple, ranging from simple breathing meditations to more complex meditations. Reduce anxiety. Most of us have so few opportunities to experience silence when in the company of others. This practice is traditionally called Chankramanam. Enjoy every step you take. Stop and tune into the sensation of the sun or cool breeze against your skin. Thank you for sharing this article.. early days in meditation but i hope I can only get better. Different from other techniques, this one makes use of affirmations in order to produce positive mental states. The sounds around you. Breath out for the same number of steps. Hiking is an opportunity to keep muscles in shape, control weight, improve metabolism and, as stated by the American Hiking Society, Hiking reduces stress and anxiety. Enjoy a few moments in silence as you look around and consciously engage your sense of sight. [A similar noting practice is also used in Vipassana seated meditation.]. In the Yoga tradition, walking meditation is not as popular as in the Buddhist tradition, where this type of meditation is more emphasized. Hiking and Meditation A Daily Meditation Practice. Or focus on the sights, sounds, and smells around you. It’s also where I feel happiest and most at ease. For this type of walking meditation, choose a straight path of about 30 to 40 feet long. Your breath might be faster than during a normal meditation, but that is absolutely okay. When you reach 10, you say 10, then 10, 9 for the next two steps; then 10, 9, 8 for the next three steps, etc. After reading what was available on walking meditation, which typically advise focusing on the flow of our “in” and “out” breaths, I developed my own techniques for practicing mindful walking and hiking. A more detailed exploration may be the subject of a future post. This is most typically done before Pooja, and any sitting meditation that is done in a temple. Stopping and consciously engaging our senses when out hiking not only calms and grounds us—relaxing both mind and body—but it also deepens our connection to the natural world. Continue to hold your focus on this point and allow yourself to blink whenever you need to. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing; carry whatever is needed to minimize self-consciousness, as long as it is lightweight. You can start with 2-8-4 or 3-12-6, and increase by time. The content there is not so easy to consume, but there are plenty of things to read. Take a Mindful Hike Stop Before You Start. When hiking uphill, take your time. Who doesn’t like the occasional hike in the great outdoors? Some people find it useful to keep the eyelids half closed. The ones from Theravada and Zen are more concentrative practices, to really help deepen the meditation. This is the walking meditation with the slowest pace. I love mindful meditation and I walk twice a week, but I never thought about putting the two together! I have started meditating while riding my bicycle recently and it feels fantastic! Personally, I like the Theravada one the most. Do this a few times just standing, until you get used to the rhythm. Stand upright, with eyes cast down about a meter and a half in front (to prevent distraction), not looking at anything in particular. When you lose sight of your moving fingers, slowly bring your arms back together again. Having enjoyed some (if not all) of the above mindfulness exercises, walking in silence is a wonderful way to enjoy the latter part of your hike. If you know of other Yoga-based walking meditation, let me know and I’ll update this section. Indeed, walking meditation is very peaceful and pleasing. Mindfulness In Daily Life. Some of us have meditated for years, but most of us have little or no experience with meditation. Really feel the connection your feet are making with the earth beneath you. Ii also enjoy the Therevavada option (it was the first method I was introduced to) – but do most of my moving meditation with tai chi. Now start walking. If you habitually lead with the head, chest, or pelvis, you may find this exercise grounding and energizing. Be constantly mindful of all sensations that arise in the sole of the feet. Well, this post gives me some good ideas for our hiking. Increase the speed of repetition if the mind insists on wandering. W hen you first picture meditation, you likely imagine being in a seated position. © 2021 Mindful Communications & Such, PBC, A Gentle Movement Practice to Connect With Your Brave Heart, How to Plant Yourself in an Environment that Enriches You, Sharon Begley: Remembering a Top-Flight Science Journalist. The movement of your muscles. . In each step, focus on the feelings of loving-kindness, and think “May all beings be happy, may all beings be at peace, may all beings be free from all suffering“. (Thich Nhat Hanh). Gently hold your attention on your breath and, after each exhalation, allow your next breath to come when it’s ready. You certainly can’t expect to keep thoughts of your life completely at bay as you walk in silence, so don’t try. How is meditation different from walking? Types of Meditation – An Overview of 23 Meditation Techniques, Episode 15: Dr. Rick Hanson Interview on Mindful Relationships. So the assistance of a qualified teacher is essential, for this practice. Breathing out, we say, I am home. Also, if you like it, please tell your friends as I want to reach a wider audience. Also do you recommend to practice walking meditation as a replacement for the traditional sitting meditation, or it should be just as a supplement? This helped me for sure as I am falling in love with meditation ! This is a technique taught in the lineage of Wang Liping. You also might find that something beautiful or interesting catches your eye while walking. Time I’m giving myself to recharge and reconnect with nature.”. Thank you. Walking Meditation. Next time you find yourself outdoors, whether you’re heading off for a hike or even a short stroll, see if you can remember to take a few moments to stop and tune into your surroundings, as well as your physical body, by consciously engaging your senses. Making the effort to stop along the way and bring conscious awareness to your senses will not only bring you into the present moment and deepen your connection to your surroundings, it will also bring your mind and body back into a state of balance. The air temperature. Gently observe its colors, shape, and texture. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. He suggests the use of a mantra like buddho, repeating it quietly to yourself over and over and over again. Another option would be to walk a little faster. Start off by walking and being conscious of your breath. Even after you’ve finished the exercise and started walking again, try to remember from time to time to slow Such awesome tips in regard to hiking, I’m sure most people can take notes from this article. The practice brings you closer to nature and your body. On the next three steps, you say 1, 2, 3. It should be safe, secluded, quiet, still, and as empty as possible – so there is little distraction. You can practice barefoot, or wearing light shoes. While a regular seated meditation practice is a very important part of my life, I find opportunities to practice mindfulness in many other ways. Thanks for taking time to share such comprehensive information about walking meditation. Unlike other practices, in which we simply observe the breath, in pranayama we actively guide the breath. Meditation Trek to Helambhu (Yolmo Land), Lodge 11 Days. Look down—notice shadows, patterns, colors, and textures on the ground. This is very normal and simply what the mind does. Find yourself connecting with the wild beautify in the south of Chile . Try to dedicate your attention to the sensations of walking and let go of everything else. Soften your gaze and notice what you can see at the edges of your vision. Bring your awareness down into your feet, and pause. Is it on the soles of the feet?”, and thus reestablish mindfulness. Non-concentrative meditation, on the other hand, can include a broader focus such as the sounds in your environment, internal body states, and even your own breathing. Around then, I started meditating as a way of relieving stress and anxiety. In 1996, Bantam Press published this book by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Sense Practices — Look. Enjoy a … In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, walking meditation is an essential part of their training and lifestyle. Pay attention to any areas of stiffness or pain in the body, and consciously relax them. It really helps to get me into the right state of receptiveness. down and consciously tune into that sense of listening. Once you have taken three deep breaths, allow your breath to resume its natural rhythm. Our true home is in the present moment. In this practice, you can walk at a normal pace. When we do this we overcome dispersion and dwell peacefully in the present moment, which is the only moment for us to be alive. Notice if your mind wants to label or judge sounds. Walking meditation is more than a simple stroll in the park. This practice, also known as Parikrama, is common in larger temples but it can also be done around trees, home idols, and even your spiritual master. 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