Tag Archives: aware

Walking meditation

walking meditation mindfulness

Walking is something we all do every day. But in most cases, we do it automatically, without thinking on the added value it can bring us.

Jon Kabat-Zin wanted to give a new meaning to walking, so he introduced the walking meditation within the formal practices that form the MBSR – Mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Practicing walking meditation is as simple as walking, but while you do it, you can add to the meditation other stimuli, p.e., what you see, what you feel, the smells, the feel of your feet when they get in touch with the ground… what you should avoid is not to try getting caught for other thoughts that alienate us from cultivating our inner observation.

It may be difficult at the beginning: for many years we have used our legs mechanically likely you could even feel awkward during the activity. You can set your eyes straight ahead or you can look down and see how the foot up from the floor and back down, and feel the rhythm of your steps.

Any time is good for practicing walking meditation: in small displacements, at home, in a park, in the way to or back from work … there’s always a good chance to make that path a chance to meditate. Walking as a practice itself, try not to treat it as a further goal, as we usually do during our busy daily life.

Take your time. Do not run. Only wander without looking for a goal, not a destination, without the intention of reaching a particular location. If, for example, you put it into practice during a journey that you are used to do it in 5 minutes, allow yourself to do it in double time and practice walking meditation for 10 minutes.

Before starting practice, think about breathing slowly during those two or three initial steps to accustom your body and mind to this new way of walking. The soles should focus your attention: be aware of the contact between them and the ground you walk on.

You have to control your breathing. Make it mild and slow. It will help you to reduce the effects of stress and facilitate meditation. Make deep but slow breaths inhaling air through the nose and exhaling through your mouth.

And, most important advice: do it lively. Don’t think about a minimum or maximum time for practicing this meditation. And at the end, take a moment for reflect on what you have done, how through the practice, you have found serenity, peace, inner joy.

Body scan

body scan mindfulness

When we hear the term body scan, it can conjure up all sorts of thoughts and mental associations.

Body scan is one of the formal meditation practices which are part of mindfulness-based stress reduction or MBSR, and it is the first kind of meditation which is taught in the MBSR course.

It is a type of lying down meditation in which we focus our attention on the different parts of our body, in a systematic way.

Usually it is done lying down on a mat , with our arms parallel to the body. But it can also be done sitting down, or adopting other positions like, the astronaut pose (body on the floor, and knees bent on a chair).

While we do the body scan, our eyes are usually closed, but if this makes us feel uncomfortable, or we feel that we are falling asleep, we can leave them open.

While we are lying down, relaxation can occur, but it’s not the ultimate goal of this meditation. Throughout the exercise, we are invited to stay alert and awake. But again, if we happen to fall asleep, it is okay, we just resume the exercise in the part of the body where we were just before our attention drifted away.

We do not pretend to change anything, or achieve any particular goal, just being aware of how we are and what we feel as we check each area of our bodies.

In the body scan, we go through the different parts of the body, acknowledging what is happening in that particular point, in that particular moment. Accepting whatever sensation or feeling we may have, or accepting (why not?) that there is no particular sensation or feeling.

We move our awareness through the different parts of our body, following a particular order, but there is no one best way of doing it. We can start from the toes and end on the head, or the other way around.

Again as what happens with sitting meditation, it is a matter of experiencing the experience, accepting whatever is there for us in the here and now.

MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

MSBR Mindfulness

You may already be familiar to what MBSR stands for, and know that these four letters mean Mindfulness-based stress reduction.

As you already know, it was created by Jon Kabat-Zin in the late seventies. Although it is based in Buddhist meditation principles, the course it’s structured throughout 8 weeks, and its main aim is to reduce stress and to give you tools to bring awareness to your life moment by moment.

The main meditation practices that are used in the course are sitting meditation, body scan, walking meditation, and mindful yoga, also known as mindful movement.

Those are different types of what is known as formal practice. In all of them the main anchor or object of awareness, at least at the beginning, is the breath. As Jon Kabat-Zin says: “Try it for a few years and see what happens”.

Informal practices are also introduced. This means bringing attention to different activities that we all usually do in our daily life, like eating, brushing our teeth or washing the dirty dishes.
Sessions are complemented with weekly practice at home listening to Cds and using reading material.
When a group is established at the beginning of the course a bond and a commitment is created.

A bond between the facilitator and the participants, and also among the participants themselves which will develop and grow as the course goes on. It is like weaving a patchwork quilt between all the participants of the course including the facilitator.

A commitment to attend all the classes for the benefit of one self and the rest. And a commitment to do the home practice during the week after each session.

Many questions can come to our minds before starting an MBSR Course.

Do I need to be an experienced meditator? Not at all. It’s not about perfection, nor about competing with yourself or others. It’s as simple as focusing on the breath, and going back to it every time the mind wanders. It is about befriending something as familiar as the breath, which has been with us since our birth, and that will be with us until we die, but that frequently we are not aware it’s there.

Do I have to have practiced yoga in order to do mindful movement? Not at all. Mindful movement focuses on being aware of our body when it moves. It can be as simple as raising your eyebrows, or moving your feet.

What benefits can I get by doing the course? You will get to understand stress better and how to reduce it. You will learn how to deal with thoughts, emotions and feelings in a more skillful way.