Most Westerners think of meditation as someone sitting down, cross legged with their eyes closed and probably chanting some kind of mantra over and over again.
But that is only one of the ways that people can practice meditation.
Meditating can also be performed standing up, lying down or walking.
Today, we're going to look at walking meditation. In this situation, the walking itself is the focus of your meditation, rather than a candle or a mantra or your breathing.
Obviously, depending on where the walking is taking place, you may also need to be aware of other external influences as well, such as joggers and cyclists.
In a walking meditation, you should concentrate on the actual experience of walking. Notice the pressure on each foot as it touches the ground and the relief of that pressure as your foot rises again. Take in the experience of the muscles in your legs. Notice when they tense up and when they relax. Feel the changes in your toes as they meet the ground. Recognize what is happening to your ankles as you walk along.
As well as the stress relief that a walking meditation naturally brings, you should also experience a feeling of energy and invigoration. Walking is a more active meditation than some other types (although breathing meditations can get pretty energetic as well, if you choose to let them). You also benefit from the exercise of walking, which is an aerobic exercise in itself. It follows that a walking meditation can be of overall benefit to your health and can even help keep you fit.
If the thought of sitting or lying down to meditate has put you off in the past, then taking the walking meditation course could be just the ticket. Give it a try and see how refreshed you feel afterwards!