Walking meditation is an ancient practice in many forms of Buddhism which involve long periods of walking and seated mediation. It has a number of benefits in relation to stress reduction, anxiety relief and wellbeing. For starters, it improves the quality of your breathing, especially when you first start. If your breathing is steady and controlled then your mind also becomes more peaceful. As your body becomes calmer you will feel less tense and therefore be more able to concentrate more deeply on your activities and concentration. The benefits of this form of meditation are not limited to relaxation however, it can also help you increase strength, endurance and overall health.
Many forms of walking meditation involve observing the walking movement itself. For example, when you take part in a walking meditation session, you are encouraged to follow the gait of the body, paying special attention to each step and applying suitable postures (calledanas). When you observe the gait of another person or even observe the actions of a large animal, you will notice that their breath is similar to yours: slow, measured and deep.
The audio files that you can download for use in walking meditation can help you gain a greater sense of awareness. In the most basic level, the audio files allow you to be aware of what is going on around you, in the present and in the future. At higher levels of mindfulness, the recordings can help you become aware of your thoughts and your personal experience. You may find that, with repeated use, the recordings can help you gain greater insight into yourself and your own experiences and emotions. By following the advice in the audios, you can train your mind to become more aware of yourself, your thoughts and the content of your experience. As you become more aware of yourself, you will be able to perceive the truth about yourself and thus reduce suffering.
Self-awareness is an essential component of spiritual development. In walking meditation, you will use the awareness that you get when walking to train your mind and increase self-awareness. You will notice that each time you breathe in your body becomes more aware of the content of your breath. You will also be able to observe your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as they arise and pass by. These awarenesses will gradually deepen and bring you closer to self-awareness.
If you regularly engage in walking meditation, you can use the walking CDs to further your training. They will provide you with an increased ability to consciously awareness and improve your ability to control your body and emotions. It will also help you to control your physical responses to what you are walking through. For instance, you can intentionally direct your breathing to increase your awareness of your feet touching the ground as you walk. More importantly, by training your awareness to be more consciously aware of the physical sensations that you experience as you walk, you will be more able to recognize when you are walking into a tight spot, or to detect the unusual bumps and protrusions on the path as you walk through them.
As you walk, you will find that your breath becomes more regulated, and that you are more aware of the sensations that you are feeling in each step that you take. As your awareness of your sensations increases, so will your ability to tune into your mind wanders, allowing you to experience a state of awareness beyond what you are normally able to experience. When your mind wanders, you will be able to observe your sensations and the deeper levels of your mind without focusing on them, and this can provide you with much benefit in your daily life.