When one thinks about meditation, one usually pictures somebody sitting peacefully in a lotus position. This is the most typical posture of meditation. For the practice of Vipassana, however, the Buddha spoke about being mindful in the Four Major Positions of the body, namely walking, sitting, standing, and lying. Walking meditation plays a very important role in this respect as during walking meditation the mind is observing the body in both walking and standing positions. If you’ve never tried it, it may not be immediately apparent what the benefits of walking meditation might be. As such, the Buddha explained the 5 benefits of walking meditation:
- A meditator who practices walking meditation can learn to walk long distances. The more one practices walking meditation, the more she can endure not only walking meditation but the ability to walk in general
- A meditator who practices walking meditation can learn to endure exertion. The endurance learned from walking meditation can carry over to other activities that require endurance.
- A meditator who practices walking meditation can be free from disease. Walking meditation can actually clear out illness from the body and the body becomes more healthy and strong.
- A meditator who practices walking meditation can improve digestion. Ever feel bloated or over full after a meal? Why not try walking meditation?
- A meditator who practices walking meditation can develop concentration. It’s quite common for meditators to try sitting meditation but feel as though it’s difficult to sit still or pay attention to what they’re doing. Many people end up giving up believing that they are just too distracted or restless to practice. Why not try walking meditation first?
My meditation teacher Kun Thanat Chindaporn always tells his students “don’t love your son more than your daughter” meaning that both walking and sitting meditation should be given equal importance. Both walking and sitting meditation can provide a multitude of benefits. So in case you feel like skipping the walking portion of your meditation practice, take a look at this list and you will realize that you won’t be wasting your time.
Hope to see you soon at the Buddhavipassana Meditation Centre for a quiet space in the city to develop both your walking and sitting meditation practices.