Breathwork for Active People: Walking Meditation
Deep breathing is important not only for helping to build new positive beliefs and achieve goals, but for increasing enjoyment in daily life.
While we of course all breathe, breathing in order to enhance our wellbeing is very different. We could think of it as fullbodied breathing. It is breathing that originates in the diaphragm. As we breathe in, the diaphragm expands. We’ll notice our abdomen getting bigger. When we breathe out our abdomen contracts.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist spiritual leader, has talked about the value of being in a state of meditation all day, as we go about our daily activities. What he’s referring to is a state of relaxed attention, which is supported by the breath.
One of the ways he suggests building this practice that works well for people who have a lot of energy and find it challenging to do breathing exercises in a sitting position is to do walking meditation.
Walking meditation involves walking slowly. Each time you take a step you breathe deeply. One step breathe in, one step breathe out, one step breathe in, one step breathe out, etc.
With each step you focus on the breath, no matter what else is in your mind.
Thoughts can be there. In fact thoughts are likely to be there, But you concentrate on your breath as you take one slow mindful step after another.
This kind of walking can be done indoors or outdoors. And of course the amount of time spent is up to you. You can start small. Say five minutes. Doing it several times a days helps build the relaxed state.
Getting your body and mind used to a new relaxed routine is what counts. Once you’ve become a frequent mindful walker, you will find yourself focusing on the activities you need to do without feeling rushed stressed or overwhelmed.