Meditation With or Without Movement: What is Best, A Walking or Seated Meditation? By Christie Flynn
Updated: Nov 8
Hello and welcome! I'm excited to share this blog.
What is Best, a Walking or Seated Meditation?
In today's blog, I'll be sharing some perspectives on how both can help you.
Let's dive in and explore the two.
Having explored both through training and practice, I continue to integrate both.
They have added value to my life in different ways depending on what I need at the moment. I approach each experience with intention and without agenda to see and feel what happens.
Looking back during some of the most challenging times in my life I used different forms of meditation to bridge the gap between what I was feeling emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually to a place that was more peaceful. There were times when I couldn't settle too. Letting go of the idea of perfection is important here. Just sit and be without judgment. If it's a walking meditation, the same applies. To arrive without an agenda is powerful. A welcome change. Don't get me wrong, intentions are good too. I'll speak more to that later on in the article.
We are inundated with technology and disconnection, there's a real need and strong pull toward meditative approaches as a way to get back to or return to our true nature. Meditation in nature is exactly where it began.
Regardless of what's going on, there's always going to be a benefit from taking a break and hitting the "pause" button for a moment. It can make a world of difference. I often share with my clients and students in classes or our community reiki circle offered each month. Meditation or reiki does not know time. Never underestimate the power of one minute, one cycle of breath, closing down of the eyes to rest.
Seated Meditation: A Historical Practice
Seated meditation, a historical practice, has roots in various religions, including ancient Egypt, China, Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, with archaeological evidence dating back to 5,000 BCE.
Understanding Meditative Postures and Their Role in Meditation
Meditative postures, also referred to as meditation seats, are specific body positions or asanas (yoga postures) that enable a successful meditation practice. The most widely known styles of meditation are found in Buddhist and Hindu traditions, which include the lotus and kneeling positions. However, sitting upright in a chair can also be an effective option. Having practiced Transcendental Meditation for over ten years, the preference is to be seated upright.
Your meditation seat should be steady and comfortable. Yoga Sutras 2:46
During daily meditation, I prefer a comfortable chair with supportive cushions. However, I have also tried a more traditional position during a three-hour meditation, which was quite challenging in many ways. Additionally, I enjoy joining yoga classes regularly, and I find guided meditation at the end to be particularly beneficial. Over time I’ve learned to be curious and explore different options and see what happens. Whether it's a chair, lying on the floor, or using a yoga mat, I encourage all options that are available because every day offers a different quality of experience.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Beginning Meditation
If you're interested in beginning meditation, here's a helpful guide to get you started:
Choose a quiet time and place to meditate. Sit on a cushion or chair with an erect yet relaxed posture, embodying the quiet dignity of a king or queen.
Close your eyes gently and bring your full attention to whatever you feel both inside and around you. Allow your mind to be spacious and your heart to be soft and kind.
Focus on the sensations of your body and take note of the sounds, feelings, thoughts, and expectations that arise. Observe them all as they come and go, like waves in the ocean.
Focus on your breathing and let your attention follow the in-and-out movement of your breath. Relax and rest your attention on each breath, feeling the movement in a steady and easy way.
Acknowledge and name any waves of thoughts or memories that carry your attention away from your breath. Then, gently return your attention to your breath.
Whatever you experience, let it be. Be aware of it, let it come and go, and rest at ease in the midst of it all.
After sitting for twenty or thirty minutes, open your eyes and take a moment to look around before getting up. Carry the same spirit of awareness with you into the rest of your day.
Remember, the art of meditation is simple but not always easy. It takes practice and a kind and spacious heart. If you commit to sitting with awareness every day, you will gradually grow in centeredness and understanding.
During one of my first meditation classes in 2004, the instructor led us through a guided meditation which was really helpful to me in the beginning. What was interesting was how the mind can swirl in a magical way. I remember seeing colors all around me and feeling completely swept up in an overall feeling of calm. It reminded me of a cottage experience when the sun began to set and color the sky with vast hues of yellow, pink, orange, and purple and the stillness of the lake water. We really don't need to go too far to capture a sense of calmness, peace, and love. That's why I love to teach mindfulness practices through reiki and meditation classes. I just want to take THAT and give it to my clients through guided meditations.
“You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain”
Exploring the Advantages of Incorporating Walking Meditation into Your Practice
A walking meditation is a well-known practice that is widely utilized to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, restore balance, stimulate creativity, and encourage self-reflection, and insight. A simple walk can offer spiritual and psychological growth. An example of a walking meditation is the Labyrinth.
Labyrinths have been an integral part of human history for over 4,000 years, serving a variety of purposes such as walking meditations, choreographed dances, and ceremonial sites.
These ancient archetypes have been used as tools for personal, psychological, and spiritual growth, and are believed to improve right-brain activity.
In order to find what works best for you, it's important to explore different meditation techniques and their benefits. Taking the time to experiment with different approaches can be incredibly beneficial for your mental and physical well-being.
If you're someone who struggles with traditional meditation techniques, walking meditation is an excellent alternative to consider. By synchronizing your body and mind, you can cultivate a heightened sense of awareness while enjoying the outdoors.
Walking is a well-established habit for many of us that we tend to do without much conscious thought. As we step out the door, our minds start to wander, preoccupied with remembering, planning, worrying, or analyzing. This tendency can cause us to lose sight of the present moment and miss out on the simple joy of walking.
Walking meditation is an excellent way to bring your mind with you on the walk and to focus on the experience. By paying attention to your surroundings, rather than your thoughts, you can connect with nature and enjoy this everyday pursuit. You'll be amazed at how different you feel when you're fully present and engaged with what's going on around you.
Exploring the Different Approaches to Walking Meditation
I remember my mother sharing this with me when I was quite young. Bless her soul. She was such a wonderful soul filled with knowledge and her own 'knowing' too. She knew just when I needed to get out. Sometimes it may have been a bit harsh when my brother and I watched too much T.V. But, I'm grateful for all the goodness she brought to my life. Her love for the outdoors and how she graced other people's lives too as a caregiver and nurse to many people young and old.
Various forms of walking meditation exist and are typically dependent on the location. Walking leisurely through a park is unlike briskly pacing through a city. However, a meditative walk, suitable for those with busy lifestyles, can be done anywhere and at one's preferred pace.
Would you like to set an intention for the meditation? What does that mean? Perhaps it's to help with mental focus, letting go of emotions, to become more present in the body and breathing.
Set the location for your walk and the amount of time you'd like to dedicate to the walking meditation. Start with a short distance and time as a way to build your confidence and build up the appeal of a walking meditation.
Before you begin your walk, take a moment to check in with your body. Are you feeling heavy or light? Stiff or relaxed? Take a few seconds to become aware of your posture and how you are carrying yourself.
Test it out. Set a timer for 7 to 15 minutes and go outside for a walk. If you aren't able to walk. Take a seat on a chair outside wherever you can. (Dress for the outdoors if it's cold or warm. Go regardless of how you FEEL).
Additional Recommendations to Enhance Your Meditation Practice
Observe any feelings
Tune into the sounds in the environment
Breathing depth, shallow and short, or long and deepening
Walking in Nature
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in nature – it's a refreshing experience that can soothe the soul. By reconnecting with the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world, a simple walk can turn into a memorable and life-affirming experience. While walking, tune in to your surroundings and check in with yourself. The serene environment of a park, river, forest, or mountain trail means that your only real distractions will be your thoughts (or electronic devices if you bring them along).
Take note of your posture and any bodily sensations while keeping a steady and comfortable pace, walking naturally, and breathing normally. Focus on the rhythm of your walk – left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot – to help calm your mind. This will bring your mind to a place of stillness where it can fully engage in the present moment and the surrounding environment.
Walking in your home
Walking meditation can be done indoors by walking back and forth between two marked points, taking slow and deliberate steps, and focusing on the body's movement and rhythm to calm the mind and improve well-being.
Please feel free to share any experiences you've had in the comment section below.
I have a few options for guided meditation on my YouTube channel. I'll be adding more in the next month to the repertoire.
Use ONE word (only one) to describe what you experienced and share it in the comments below.
Christie Flynn, Psychic Medium, Teacher and Writer
Books That Have Been Helpful for My Meditation Journey
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through The Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield - Purchase the book here.
The Book of Life: The Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti - Purchase the book here.
*Please note there are affiliate links with the book sources.