Mindful Living

BreathWalking

Breath Walking Vidya Sury

I love meditation. It is a great mindfulness practice. But there’s one thing I’ve always felt a wee bit guilty about. No sooner than I sit for a few minutes than I start feeling drowsy. I mean – it is pure luxury to put everything aside and just sit straight for fifteen minutes, gathering myself, my thoughts, such as they are.  By the way – making it a habit of sitting straight is far less tiring than sitting slumped, you know. Nevertheless, the calm and peace, make me fall asleep. I guess that’s okay, since the goal of meditation is to feel good. But there are times when my mind is full and I start squirming and worrying about my legs going numb.

I’ve often wondered if there’s a way to meditate without zoning out in the process. And I came across this little gem:

Breathwalking

This is active meditation without actually shutting out your world. No need to close your eyes. All it takes is syncing your breath with your pace and you’re good to go.

Not only is it super easy to do, but comes with several benefits.

As we move, our focus turns inward and we tune out distractions, getting our minds to quieten.

When we focus on our breath, we are automatically practicing mindfulness, since we begin living in the moment without judgment. When we center ourselves in the “now”, it gives us a break from our busy routine, keeping stress at bay.

Look – we breathe, we walk, right? Breathwalking brings our steps, our breath and our attention in sync when we walk. To do this, we use a “mantra”  I’ll show you the beat, and you compose your lyrics type of mantra.

Without further ado, let me share this wonderful practice with you.

I urge you to try it right away – it really feels fantastic.

Here’s what you need:

  • Legs – you got those
  • Walking shoes – unless you opt to walk barefoot
  • Time – about 15 minutes max or even less – choice is yours
  • Intention – you know you want to
  • Desire to feel good – I’ll take a yes.

How to breathwalk

You breathe

  • You maintain the rhythm of your breathing as four-in and four-out.
  • Take four short breaths in, in sequence, followed by four short breaths out, keeping pace with your stride.
  • It goes like this: In-in-in-in, out-out-out-out or in-2-3-4 and out-2-3-4
  • Exhale through the mouth
  • Take long deep breaths
  • If you’d rather start with in-in and out-out that’s fine too
  • Inhale through the nose

You walk

  • Let your steps be shorter than your usual stride.
  • Walk right left, right left and then, right left right left
  • Begin inhalations with a right step and end with a left step
  • Begin exhalations with a right step and end with a left step

Then

  • Focus on breathing rather than walking
  • Get into the rhythm of breathing and walking
  • Repeat this pattern
  • When your breathing matches your steps comfortably, you might want to try the following finger tapping exercise

You tap your fingers

  • When you inhale, touch your index finger to your thumb, following by middle finger to your thumb, then ring finger to thumb and finish with pinky to thumb. That’s four inhales.
  • Practice until you get the rhythm of walking, breathing and tapping.
  • Use a mantra to help you stay focused and centered.

You practice synchronizing your breathing, walking, tapping.

Okay, I see you asking what’s the deal about the finger tapping. Here’s the significance of these mudras:

  • Index finger + thumb = wisdom
  • Middle finger + thumb = focus
  • Ring finger + thumb = energy
  • Little finger + thumb = connectedness

In the beginning, breathwalking may seem a little tough – after all, getting from mind full to mindful takes some time and effort with all the distractions we have – but you’ll get there faster than you think.

You’ll get back your focus and you’ll feel great afterwards since your body, mind and spirit are at work together.

Also you’ll build your stamina and flexibility, have better heart rhythm, visual focus, muscle balance, better moods and feel more energetic and less stressed. Yup, you’ll be healthier and happier!

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Won’t you try breathwalking and tell me how it felt?

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    rachel
    April 3, 2016 at 12:31 am

    I am glad I am not the only one who falls asleep when meditating. I tried yoga. I just got too comfortable. That sounds like a very interesting exercise though.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 3, 2016 at 12:38 am

      Hehe – This one’s interesting as well as fun. I try and compose different mantras for the finger tapping. Thank you Rachel. Do let me know how you enjoyed it!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalkingMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kala Ravi
    April 3, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Wow this is fantastic Vidya! I never heard this one before! I have never succeeded with meditation either…..this seems the perfect solution. Not too difficult I think. Will try it and let you know how it goes. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Yvonne
    April 3, 2016 at 12:50 am

    I too struggle with meditation! Thank you for this post – will certainly try breathwalking.

    Visiting from the A-Z challenge

  • Reply
    Darla M Sands
    April 3, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Good advice. I’m reminded of Julia Cameron’s advocacy of walking in her various “Artist’s Way” workshops. And the exercise holds even more appeal after watching my long inactive mother lose her ability (and will, too, sadly) to walk. Unfortunately, today’s high winds made the sunshine and temperature feel much colder than expected so that my walk lasted mere minutes. Be well. Best wishes, Darla.

    I’m focusing on my music collection this month. And having fun. Hurray for that!
    Darla M Sands recently posted…B is for Birthday MassacreMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kathryn Trask
    April 3, 2016 at 3:46 am

    Ha, I don’t fall asleep mostly when meditating, but do get pleasantly slowed and a little drowsy. I just tried the walking of four steps and breathing in and out. Found it a really good pattern. Will practice – will take a while to add the other things in.
    Kathryn Trask recently posted…Buying BooksMy Profile

  • Reply
    C. Lee McKenzie
    April 3, 2016 at 5:19 am

    There’s nothing more restorative than breath work. I love the way I come back to my regular breathing feeling refreshed and relaxed. So good for us. Thanks for the detailed explanation of breathwalking.

  • Reply
    Yolanda Renee
    April 3, 2016 at 6:52 am

    I do the same, relax to the point of sleepiness. But I’ve learned to move past that by concentrating on a particular scene with more strength, by that, I mean putting myself more in the scene I’m imagining. LOL I love walking, it’s the secret to breaking all sour moods and especially writers block. LOL

    Love your posts!

    Happy Second Day of the A to Z!
    Ninga Minion @YolandaRenee from
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  • Reply
    Lori
    April 3, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Thank you, Vidya! I’ve wanted to learn this, but didn’t know there was so much involved! I will definitely put this into practice!
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Lori

  • Reply
    Dahlia
    April 3, 2016 at 7:51 am

    I struggle with meditation and walking. This seems like two birds with one stone – will try. But my main besetting sin is laziness – hope you have some tips for that! 🙂
    Dahlia recently posted…B = BoronMy Profile

  • Reply
    Lata Sunil
    April 3, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Something to try out.thanks for this advice.

  • Reply
    WriterlySam
    April 3, 2016 at 8:20 am

    I’m totally trying this. Although it will be hard to get the music out of my head *wink*
    #TeamDamyanti
    WriterlySam recently posted…The AtoZ of EOS_BAITEDMy Profile

  • Reply
    My Era
    April 3, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Synchronized breathing, walking and tapping sounds interesting.
    Maybe, I should try it because I’m with you in falling asleep the minute I close my eyes and try to zone out.
    Thank you for introducing me to breathwalking 🙂

  • Reply
    Shubhangi
    April 3, 2016 at 11:50 am

    That was wonderful. Thanks for writing this. It’s easy to follow.
    Shubhangi recently posted…B for BhaskaracharyaMy Profile

  • Reply
    Nisha Sanjeev
    April 3, 2016 at 11:55 am

    It all boils down to ‘Mindfullness’. That’s it. You can also meditate with eyes open, once you’ve mastered the art.

  • Reply
    Vasantha Vivek
    April 3, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Great way of starting mindfulness for beginners!!!
    Vasantha Vivek recently posted…Weekly Discussion : What Is Your Favorite Holiday Destination?My Profile

  • Reply
    Sunila Vig
    April 3, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Love this too Vidya. I know I am going to love each post of yours, coz I love mindfulness as is and then your doing such a great job of ways of Be-ing. I do the breath walk and did some in my back yard ,barefoot just this morn. Apart from being with my inhale exhale I also feel every nuance of the contours of the foot touching the earth and feel the vibrations going up the body as I walk. Buddhist monks seems to walk like this always dont they. And love the last Quote about the feet kissing the earth 🙂

  • Reply
    Chicky
    April 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I will definitely try it & let you know how I feel. I tried only the breathing part right now while reading your post, and it felt relaxing already. And yes, Mudras are a whole science in themselves!
    Thank you for sharing this!
    Chicky recently posted…A to Z of Happiness: B – Believe #atozchallenge @AprilAtoZMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710
    April 3, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Meditation is really impossible for me. I fall asleep or drift away every time I try it!
    I’ll surely try this breathwalking. 🙂
    Mithila Menezes recently posted…B for Bibliophile #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  • Reply
    Lottie
    April 3, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Hey Vidya, good to see you here as part of the A to Z challenge – I’m focussing on Mindfulness too.

    I love the idea of tapping on your fingers – I’m going to give it a go 🙂

  • Reply
    Susan Scott
    April 3, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    I’ll give this one a try Vidya thank you, and for taking the time to explain it all to us!
    Susan Scott recently posted…B: BotswanaMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kalpanaa
    April 4, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Lovely! I love meditation too. Must give this one a try.

  • Reply
    Birgit
    April 4, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I have been doing this for a while now but didn’t know it was a form of meditation. What I didn’t know what the fingers connecting…pretty cool. Now, I need to walk!
    Birgit recently posted…The Letter BMy Profile

  • Reply
    Rajlakshmi
    April 4, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    now that’s a cool trick … I like the 1234 in and out… I can even do that while sitting at my desk … be mindful of my breathing 😀 I sometimes do third eye meditation most because I love the circular feel on my forehead and in the eyes. Helps me sleep well.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Chasing Water Dragons #atozchallengeMy Profile

  • Reply
    Maya Jain
    April 4, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Oh this is a cool co-incidence! I just picked up a book couple of days back from my uncle’s place called Breath Walk- by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa and Yogi Bhajan. Just started reading it. After reading your post, I’m definitely going to do this. Thanks.
    Loving your posts!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      Hey Maya, I want to read that book! And do try the breathwalk – it feels great! Especially with the finger tapping! The rhythm feels really refreshing!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Coffee MeditationMy Profile

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