Thursday, January 15, 2015

Walking Meditation

One thing that is probably true for most people is that we are very busy in our lives. We are busy with work, family, school, and home practically from sun up to sun down. We devote much of our time "getting the job done." Unfortunately, we forget to devote some of that time to ourselves.

You may have heard your yoga instructor (if you even have time to get to a yoga class) state that we need to slow down, breathe, meditate. But you think to yourself, "I don't have time. I barely made it to this yoga class!" Here's the adendum to those yogic suggestions: make it simple and enjoyable. Slowing down, breathing, and even meditating don't really need to take that much time. A typical yoga class is likely an hour. Speaking as a yoga instructor, I don't expect most people to add an additional hour to a breathing or meditation practice. Each of these can take only a few minutes.

Here's something very easy for you to try. If you're at work, for example, take a moment to stop what you're doing, sit down, close your eyes, and take 5-10 deep breaths. Try it. See how long it takes and notice how you feel afterward. You may experience an immediate clarity and rejuvenation after taking that short moment for yourself.

Do you have a little more time? Try this. You're at home. Stop what you're doing, step outside, take a few deep breaths. Better yet, take a walk to the end of your walkway. Or, weather and time permitting, take a short stroll down your block and back. This doesn't have to take more than 3-5 minutes. While walking, just take deep breaths. To stay focused, create a rhythm of breath that matches the pace of your steps. This can be very meditative. And it didn't take that long. And it was probably enjoyable, too. You can incorporate simple practices like this on a daily basis. Even do it several times a day. It can help to clear the mind and calm the body so that you can return effectively to your work at hand.

I am offering a weeklong retreat in Costa Rica in May. Now, I know that not everyone can take a trip like that, but one of the yogic exercises we will be doing is meditative walks on the beach. Simple practicies like this can help you feel more centered, focused, in tuned, alive, and the list goes on. So, even if you can't get away to an international yoga retreat, create a retreat-moment right where you are, right now. It's as simple as taking a breath or going for a walk. Try it.


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