This week’s practice is all about walking. I still remember when walking was automatic. Now, however i find myself having to think about walking before i actually start and i have to think about whether my left leg is going to follow my right one, because if it doesn’t then I end up falling over. I have been lucky with the falling part as i have never hit the floor, but have often fallen into walls, tables, chairs, bus stops, lamp posts, and other people.
Try this first – if you get a chance go to a place where you know there will be a number of people walking around. Find yourself a good advantage point and watch how people walk. When i did this, i found that all those without disabilities walked in the exact same way. If you do not believe go and watch for yourself!
The book suggests that you find a place where you can walk undisturbed for 5 to 10 minutes in a straight line. However you may not be able to do this; as you may be unable to walk for that long or if you choose to walk inside you may not have an area that is long enough. You need to decide what is right for you and follow what your body is telling you.
How to –
- Stand with your feet parallel to each and about a hip width a part. Relax your knees slightly and allow your arms to hang loosely by your sides.
- Bring your awareness to any sensations within the body, focusing on the feet and legs.
- When you are ready begin walking, let your left heel slowly rise from the floor, focus on any sensations within the heel and foot, continue to raise the foot off the floor until your weight shifts naturally to the right leg. Stay aware of sensations in your left foot as you allow the foot and leg to swing forward, allowing the left heel to come back into contact with the floor, feeling the weight shift forward onto the left leg and the heel of the right leg begin to lift off the floor. Feel the shift in weight to the left foot an leg and allow the right foot and leg to lift off the floor completely, swinging to forward allowing the right heel to touch the floor first. Then shift the weight to the right foot and leg.
- Continue to walk in this way.
- When making a turn, step round in a circle before walking forward again.
- Walking meditation may feel odd to begin with, but in time it will feel more natural and you will be able to walk at a natural speed. Walking meditation is not about walking slow, but about walking mindfully, being fully aware of each step that you take and the sensations within the body.
When i first began practising walking meditation i found that i my body would lean towards the right and there was greater pressure and therefore pain all the way down my left side. As i made gentle movements to bring my body back into alignment i felt more at ease within my body. I am hoping that as i continue to practise, I will be able to sustain the more upright position of my body and therefore remove some of the stress that is causing me pain.