you have been learning zazen as sitting meditation,
zazen is not just sitting.
You can, in fact, do zazen walking, standing,
sitting or lying down.
When have been sitting for long sessions,
periods of walking meditation allow you to continue
zazen while stretching your legs.
It also allows you to take zazen into motion
and into physical activity.
Whether formal or informal, walking meditation
is an example of how the practice of zazen is not
dependent on one position or another.
In walking meditation (kinhin),
using the whole body and mind, focus your attention
on each moment of each moment and simply go forward.
In formal walking meditation, place your hands
in the walking position (shashu)
at about the solar plexus — the
left hand forming a fist with the thumb tucked
in, the right hand covering it, with both hands
placed over the solar plexus with the elbows and
forearms roughly parallel to the floor.
There are two forms, slow and rapid.
In slow walking, starting with the left foot,
bring it forward about six inches, and — synchronizing
each step with your breathing — take small
In some zendos walking meditation consists of
a period of slow walking followed by a period of
fast walking. Usually a signal —a sharp clapping
noise — signals
the transition from slow walking to rapid walking.
When walking rapidly with a group simply follow
the person in front of us and maintain a steady
Walking meditation is a particularly nice practice
for zazen at home — or if you’re
camping in the woods, at the beach, etc. All
you need is a place where you won’t have
to be looking around constantly to monitor whether
cars (or bears) are coming at you. Find a level
space if possible, although you can walk anywhere.
You can wander freely; it’s certainly not
necessary to follow a particular route. (In the
zendo we do so for practical purposes, as well
as to emphasize the oneness of the sangha.) You
can walk at a normal pace, walk slowly or fast.