Yoga Walking Meditation

Definition - What does Yoga Walking Meditation mean?

Yoga walking meditation is the walking meditation practiced in the yoga tradition. Walking meditation is less popular in the yogic tradition than it is in Buddhism, but there are yogic walking practices advocated by yoga gurus such as Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda. They either coordinate pranayama or mantras with walking. This can make them more challenging than other forms of walking meditation due to the effort and focus needed to control the breath while moving. It may be helpful for the yogi to practice the pranayama while seated and master it first before combining it with walking.

Yogapedia explains Yoga Walking Meditation

Before any yoga walking meditation is begun, it is recommended that the yogi calms his/her breathing and begins the pranayama while stationary before starting the walk. There are several different techniques suggested for yoga walking meditation:

  1. Breathing 4-4-4-4. In this, the inhalation, retention, exhalation and hold on empty all last for four steps. The number of steps can be adjusted to the individual’s capacity, but it should always remain in the same pattern; for instance, 5-5-5-5 or 3-3-3-3. More complex variations can be introduced that involve splitting the inhalation or exhalation into four mini-breaths or puffs of air.

  2. Breathing 1-4-2. This pattern is more challenging because the length of the breath is different for inhalation, retention and exhalation. It should follow a pattern of inhale for one step, retain the breath for four steps, then exhale for two steps and repeat. Again the number of steps can be adjusted up to lengthen the breath, but this must be done in the correct ratio; for instance, 2-8-4 or 3-12-6.

  3. Mantra. This practice is known as chankramanam and it involves coordinating the mental repetition of a mantra with steps. It may be that a short mantra is used for each step, or a longer one spans several steps.

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