Author Topic: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?  (Read 4680 times)

lawrencev

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Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« on: July 23, 2010, 07:49:09 AM »
Hi,
i've just learnt how to do walking meditation, which is great, but i'm not sure that im doing it entirely right.

i got the impression from the monk that was teaching me that you time your actions to your breathing (which sets the pace for your steps).
i follow the breaths as they are naturally (no forcing), and the pace seems to be about right.

so i for example say "standing" in my head as i breath out when im standing,
and i say "step-ing right" as i step right and breath in, letting my foot touch the ground as i breath out.

it feels right/natural, and i feel at peace when im doing it. but ive had different feedback of whether you're allowed/supposed to time the breathing with the steps.
any advice would be great,
thanks

Morning Dew

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2010, 09:24:52 AM »
Hi friend :)

Do not get cought up in rules and rituals just simply be aware of your body breathing and walking while notecing your very ego-self trying to do it right :) did you understand what i just wrote? ;) re-read it once again then :)

refrain from becoming rigid, at all times remain relaxed.


Matthew

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010, 10:31:07 AM »
In walking meditation forget the breath.

The object of the meditation is the physical sensations in the body still but the focus is on the movement of the body. When thought intrudes deal with it the same way: non-attachment.

Timing your breath and your steps is confusing and will complicate the meditation.

Warmly,

Matthew
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lawrencev

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010, 11:16:23 AM »
Thanks for your advice.
MD: i get what you're saying, awareness of awareness in some sense? i think ive achieved that,
but (also in response to TIB): ive spent a few days using my breathing to pace my steps, so im in a habit, 
and since i heard it was the wrong way i've tried ignoring the breath/letting it be,
but i find im either catching myself doing them in time anyway,
or thinking too much about it.

it felt like it was working before. i was relaxed and more aware of my feet touching the ground than the breathing.
but if its not the right way of doing it,  what technique could i use to stop focusing on the breath so much?

Thanks again

mik1e

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2010, 11:55:25 AM »
Hi lawrencev,

Your monk was right: if you arrange rhythms  of your steps and your breathing, it will be much better.

BUT: this arrangement should be natural, without the control of your rational mind. This is what TIB said.

Actually, you have to merge the rhythm of your steps and the rhythm of your breathing into one rhythm (say, 2 steps for inhale and 3 steps for exhale), and then let your body keep this rhythm, but you should not think about keeping it.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 12:09:10 PM by mik1e »

Matthew

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2010, 02:03:52 PM »
lawrencev,

As Mik1e says rhythm will help - yet this does not need to be concocted or fabricated. Usually it emerges as you walk.

...it felt like it was working before. i was relaxed and more aware of my feet touching the ground than the breathing.
but if its not the right way of doing it,  what technique could i use to stop focusing on the breath so much?

Aware of your feet touching the ground is a good start. Awareness needs to be extended to the bones and tendons and muscles moving in your feet, legs, ass, back etc, how the four differing segments of your hamstring muscles work - sometimes together and sometimes against each other - the way your upper body takes part in walking, the tensions in your neck, head and face ..... the involvement of your diaphragm (very important in walking - and the causal factor in why rhythm emerges naturally) etc, etc, etc.

In other words, walking meditation is much more than about your feet touching the ground. The only difference between walking meditation and Anapana (breathing meditation) is that the focus is on the body as it moves (and contacts the outside world) rather than the body as it breathes.

Forget breathing when doing walking meditation. If you get more than ten steps without your body automatically doing it for you there is something very wrong !

Instead extend the awareness to your whole body moving, taking in every subtle and fine detail as you progress in the practice. You will naturally emerge into a walking/breathing rhythm without these being differentiated (and therefore having to be reconciled: your current issue) but as a Gestalt (whole).

Matthew
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lawrencev

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2010, 06:35:06 PM »
I completely understand everything you guys are saying.
but now ive just attempted to do the walking meditation without taking the breath into account.
and my breathing rate just follows the pace that i walk at-i breath out every time i put my foot down.
i cant seem to help it at all.
i think i've got myself into a bad habit?

Morning Dew

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2010, 06:53:57 PM »
Quote
i think i've got myself into a bad habit?

Good! Now all you have to is observe the one that got into this bad habbit and is confused with how to get out of that bad habbit the one fell into if you know what i mean :)
For this session you can try and hop on one legg and if that doesnt work than hop on both and have a good laugh  :D

In all practices one should try and be aware of the ego self and its doings, breathing or no breathing the ego always wants to achieve things. Sometimes even make it self not being able to achieve just so it could have something on its mind, something to do, to perfect :)

I think you are on the right way!

Remain relaxed  :)

Matthew

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2010, 09:57:21 PM »
I completely understand everything you guys are saying.
but now ive just attempted to do the walking meditation without taking the breath into account.
and my breathing rate just follows the pace that i walk at-i breath out every time i put my foot down.
i cant seem to help it at all.
i think i've got myself into a bad habit?

Just ignore it and go back to the sensation of walking. Stop analysing. Stop counting. Stop verbalising.

Walk.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

lawrencev

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2010, 05:22:39 AM »
Ok ill just go for it anyway.
One more question though,
if you dont do it with your breathing, how do you pace the walking?
do you just do it?

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2010, 09:32:11 AM »
Ok ill just go for it anyway.
One more question though,
if you dont do it with your breathing, how do you pace the walking?
do you just do it?

Walk.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Masauwu

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2010, 06:44:00 PM »
Would noticing your body moving and your surroundings (while going around your daily business, walking to work and so on) be a correct form of meditation? I`ve tried it a couple of times and felt somewhat drained of energy afterwards, maybe because it`s so much more to be aware of. However i`m not sure if it`s a valid form of meditation in the Shamatha/Vipassana system. Paying attention only to the body moving didn`t seem to be the best idea when you`re crossing streets or risk running into other people.  :)

The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Vivek

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Re: Walking meditation-should i time my steps with my breath?
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2010, 12:32:59 PM »
Being aware of your immediate surroundings is important. But keep in mind that our mind can focus on only so many things at a time. So, don't try to flood your awareness with everything you find around you. That can tire you after a while. Focus on what is immediate. That will also take care of the safety factor. More important is to be aware of what happens INSIDE the mental-physical structure. So, IMO, you give more stress to that during your attempts at walking meditation.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?