|When we think of meditation, it usually conjures an image of Buddha sitting with a serene smile on his face. But meditation doesn’t always have to be practised sitting down. You can practice moving meditations while doing almost anything: running, dancing, doing the gardening or cleaning, and while exercising or walking.
The practices of Tai Chi, Yoga, and all forms of martial arts, are also moving meditations. And in sport, athletes often have peak experiences while training or competing. This is because of the attention they bring to the body as it moves. Being totally focused and present in this way can even trigger a spiritual awakening.
In Zen, moving meditation is called kinhin and is usually practised in between sessions of sitting meditation, or zazen. It involves walking with full attention on every step, and the pace is either slow or fast. Kinhin is an extension of the practice of zazen and is usually incorporated into a whole routine in the zendo. But it can be practised on its own too. It’s a good way to ground awareness in your body and remain centred as you move – once you’ve got the hang of it.
Zen walking can be practised indoors going round and round a room or through the house. Or you can practise outdoors, but you’ll need to be alone, unless the others with you are also practising Zen walking.
Decide where you’re going to walk before you start and map it out in your mind.
It has to be said that the first time I tried to do Zen walking I nearly fell over! It takes some practise to get it right and not wobble as you walk. The key is to slow down and don’t rush. Or you can practice walking a little faster and take one full step per breath.
However you do it, remember: there’s nowhere to go – you’re just walking.
Explore more Meditation Practices here
How to Meditate: Zen Walking