View Full Version : Walking meditation?

19 Dec 12, 14:43
I am trying to discipline myself to meditate every day and work my way up to a healthy amount of it each day on a regular basis. When I went to a meditation class recently, it was Zen tradition, and they did what's called a walking meditation. This may sound stupid, but, what exactly is the difference between a walking meditation and a still, seated one? Obviously, the movement is, but I mean what is the purpose of walking? How does one meditate while walking if we are taught that we should be still? I would have asked the purpose of it but I won't be back to ask until the 1st week of January and would like to know before my next session.

Thank you in advance.

20 Dec 12, 09:36
Hi tarasattva,

I don't know anything about walking meditation in connection with Zen in particular, but there's a section on Walking Meditation (p.37) which you might find helpful, in this booklet "Meditation a Way of Awakening" by Ajahn Sucitto. (Theravada Thai Forest Tradition)



20 Dec 12, 15:20
Hi tarasattva,

I have done some walking meditation in the Samatha meditation group that I attend. We don't often do it, but we are just sometimes reminded how it is done.

You know in sitting meditation, how the mind is occupied with the breath? We try to be mindful of how the breath fills the body, and how it is exhaled. We might be conscious of the depth of the breath, or how we sense the air movement.

So, in walking meditation, the focus is upon walking mindfully. The mind can be occupied by the movements we are making, how they feel, where our balance is centred.

Walking meditation requires a location where you will not be disturbed and where it is safe to walk. For instance, if the ground is rocky, you will be occupied by choosing where to put your feet, and thereby become distracted from the meditation.

So in answer to your question, walking meditation is like sitting meditation, except that the consciousness is on the movement instead of the breath.

(Personally, I have never found walking meditation beneficial. It all feels too strange and unfamiliar to me. But perhaps that's a good thing, taking me away from the comfort zone.)


20 Dec 12, 15:49
I just started going to the Philadelphia Zen Center and we did walking meditation. I've only been there once so far and while I got very specific instructions on practicing Zazen they didn't gave very specific instructions on walking meditation. In the book You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh he instructs us to step with each breathe in walking meditation (which I've done and find useful).

At the Philadelphia Zen Center we had three thirty minute periods of Zazen. If we did that straight through I would have been very uncomfortable and had back pain. I don't know how well I would've been able to concentrate. However, we did walking meditation in between each period of Zazen which gave my back some rest and loosened up my legs so I could sit again.

20 Dec 12, 17:15
Thanks for the input, everyone. Yeah, I don't know if I get much out of walking meditation either, but it is a nice break for my body from the sitting intervals as well. Next time I will try to be more mindful of my breathing with my movements and hopefully it will "click". :)

20 Dec 12, 20:32
How does one meditate while walking if we are taught that we should be still?

the ultimate goal of meditation is for the mind to be still & aware (rather than the physical body)

enjoy walking, being at ease



24 Dec 12, 17:56
I like walking meditation, and have used it as my main practice at times. Right now I prefer using it in an informal way to supplement sitting. There are lots of methods I've read about or been shown, but they all seem to boil down to maintaining awareness while walking. As such, I find it a helpful way to start integrating your meditation into 'real' life. At times I have experienced a disconnect between time spent on the cushion and everyday life; I can get very peaceful and quiet while sitting, only to get drawn into the compulsive habitual responses of the mind that have been embedded over the course of my lifetime once I get off.

The method I like goes like this, and is done outside in as pleasant a surrounding as possible.
1. start walking at normal pace
2. listen to whatever sounds are available, trying not to judge them as good or bad.
3. pay attention to your body, from the top of your head scanning down to your feet - take a good few minutes doing this. Just notice sensations and the interactions of your body as you walk. It's an interesting exercise and should be approached as such.
4. pay attention to the feet, noticing the contact with the floor and anything else about the process of taking a step.
5. now move attention to your breath. Don't control it or force a rhthym, though you may find your breathing has naturally started to match your steps. Stay with this a while.

I sometimes play with matching the breath to my steps, elongating the breath or matching the inhale & exhale, but this is just a fun way of calming the body a bit, it may not be necessary.

26 Dec 12, 01:39

I have done Walking Meditation before....
But its not only Walking but Standing as well...
Both Meditation is done together...

Walking Meditation is like many others above...
Make sure to open your eyes when you are walking...
Be aware of the rising of your leg, the falling of your leg and finally the touch of your feet on the ground...
Usually when my left feet rise I will tell myself 'Left'
then when my feet start to fall, I will tell myself again 'Feet'
Finally my feet touches the ground then I will say to myself 'Thus.'

So is 'Left Feet Thus' and 'Right Feet Thus.'
The speed of walking is like you are terminally ill and you need to drag yourself through...

However, that is just Walking Meditation. You will need to stop somewhere and turn around again. So when you stop at a corner, you stop completely then close your eye and consciously sweep from head to stomach, stop awhile by taking a deep breath then continue sweeping to your toe. Do this sweeping exercise 5 times. Then open your eyes and just like walking you start to turn. Example 'Right Feet Turn.'

Same as walking, there is three step in turning. You have to turn yourself 90 degrees. Then another 90 degrees to completely finish turning. Once you finish turning. Close your eyes again and do 5 more times of consciously sweeping from head to toe. Then open your eyes and do the Walking Meditation all over again.

Make sure to put both your hands behind your back near your hip, in order not to injure your lung while you are breathing.

The purpose of this two meditation is to strengthen your concentration and awareness/mindfulness.

Peace be with you. :)

26 Dec 12, 09:08
Here is a talk on Kinhin by Taigu.


I hope it helps.