Thich Nhat Hanh's Walking Meditation

Definition - What does Thich Nhat Hanh's Walking Meditation mean?

Thich Nhat Hanh’s walking meditation is the specific type of walking meditation recommended and taught by Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. It uses the practice and movement of walking as an anchor to the present moment, and helps the practitioner to deepen their connection with the earth. Compared with other forms of walking meditation, it's considered a relatively simplified approach. Thich Nhat Hanh also advocates the use of affirmations to focus the attention with each step.

Yogapedia explains Thich Nhat Hanh's Walking Meditation

The key instructions of Thich Naht Hanh’s walking meditation are to:

  • Move slowly, calmly and comfortably
  • Bring awareness every moment to each step
  • Silently repeat one of the affirmations with every step
  • Cultivate gratitude and love for the earth through your feet as you walk
  • Walk with a half smile

There are many different affirmations which can be used, for example:

  • Inhale, “I calm my body,” exhale, “I bring peace to my body.”
  • Inhale, “I have arrived,” exhale, “I am home.”
  • Inhale, “In the ultimate,” exhale, “I dwell.”

Thich Naht Hanh’s walking meditation is said to help the practitioner to feel more grounded in their body, as it reminds them that the earth is their true home even when they feel unsettled. It also helps to reunite the mind and body, as the use of the breath and the affirmation focus the mind in the present moment where the body dwells. Walking and breathing help the practitioner to connect more easily to their body. By walking with love and gratitude, the practitioner feels more respectful and valuing of Earth, and as such is more likely to feel nourished by the experience.

In his book, “Walking Meditation,” Thich Naht Hanh explains that it is the awareness of every step that helps to cultivate mindfulness, and an appreciation that the present moment is enough.

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