Monday, 20 July 2009

10 Steps for Walking Meditation for a Mindful Summer!

With a ray of sunshine streaming through the window this morning, I feel inspired to blog on the beautiful practice of mindfulness meditation whilst walking. Let me know if you like the post, or not!

1. Decide how long you are going to practice your mindful walking for. It could be 1 minute, 10 minutes, a hour around a park, or your walk to work.

2. Take a moment, before you start walking, to connect with the breath. Feel 3 in breaths, and 3 out breaths.

3. Then, begin walking. You can walk at your normal pace or if you've got time, or wish to experiment, walk 10% slower than normal, or much slower than normal, so that you are taking one step every minute.

4. Notice you body to begin with. How your body leans to one side to begin walking. The contact of your feet with the floor. The magical way your body keeps balance (if you do manage to balance). Notice all the sensations in the body in a wide, spacious awareness.

5. Walk with a sense of care and kindness to your body. Let there be a sense of gratitude. At least you can walk. There are millions of people that would give anything to just be able to walk. Enjoy walking if you can.

6. Now widen your awareness to the environment around you, without judgement. Notice the breeze against your skin, the sound of wind rustling through the trees, the sky, the birds, other people, the notice of traffic or a siren. Whatever the sound, sight, smell, taste or touch, accepting things just as they are.

7. Sooner, rather than later, your mind will wonder off. You may begin dreaming about something, worrying about something else, or begin planning for the rest of the day. As soon as you notice this, as kindly and gently as you can to yourself, bring your attention back to the senses.

8. Keep repeating step 7 millions of times! Each time as if for the first time. There no need to criticise or judge yourself. Keep it light!

9. When you have finished your walk, reflect on how it went. Notice if you judge it as good or bad, and let that go.

10. Once again, remember to be grateful for what you do have: the ability to walk, even if you can only manage a short distance. Enjoy the rest of the day as mindfully as you can, a smile frequently!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Breathing Space - Coping

Short 3 minute meditation for when you are experiencing a difficult emotion

If you are feeling particularly stressed, depressed, anxious, or other strong emotion, this is a helpful 3 minute meditation that you can use. It's called a coping breathing space. It is made up of 3 main steps, each one taking roughly a minute, but of course it can be longer or shorter.

1. Ensure you can sit or stand with your back relatively straight. If it feels comfortable, close your eyes. Then reflect on the following questions. What emotions can I feel? What thoughts are going through my mind? How does my physical body feel at the moment?

2. Gather your attention onto your belly, your lower abdomen. Continue to breathe naturally, but just notice the changing physical sensations in that part of your body.

3. Expand the awareness from the breathing, to the body as a whole. In a sense, feel your whole body sitting or standing in a wide and spacious awareness and notice what it feels like. Then make a decision as to what action you need to take next, tapping into your 'wise mind'.