Walking Meditation – Classes and Group Activities

Walking Meditation @ Bliss Garden

Walking meditation is an age old practice that combines slow walking with mental focus and intentionality. There are various types of walking meditation that range from very prescribed practices filled with details about how to walk and what to think about, to simply being observant and mindful of the moment as you walk. These practices are found in many spiritual and religious traditions around the globe. The benefits of meditation are numerous, as is being out in nature. Taking time to engage in walking meditation combines mental focus, intentionality, stress free movement, and being out in nature. This combination makes for a truly blissful experience that is fun, healthy, and nourishing to heart and soul.

We will be offering monthly classes throughout the warm months of 2016. Each class will cover a specific topic or style associated with walking meditation. After class we will enjoy a formal group practice of walking meditation in the garden at our McMillian Retreat Center (weather permitting.) The garden will be open for walking meditation and socialization for the entire afternoon of class and past students of any class are welcome to walk the garden paths.

Group Structure

Each meeting will follow the same format. To begin, we will be indoors to talk about a specific aspect or practice of walking meditation. This group discussion will be followed by Q & A and will take roughly 45 mins to 1 hr. Following this the entire group will go outside to practice the specific techniques in that day’s focus. Practice can range from 20 mins to 45 mins depending on each person’s inclinations. And after the focused group practice, the garden is open for individuals to gather and socialize or perform their personal practice. Anyone is welcome to participate in either or both the group discussion and the group walk.

Bliss Garden’s will be open for the afternoon of the group meeting for all participants of past classes to enjoy personal meditation walks as well.

Dates, Times & Topics

This series is Free with donations accepted to help grow Bliss Garden. The classes are not sequential, but will have a decent amount of material that will build from previous sessions. Anyone of any age can attend class provided they can maintain the focus and quiet needed for a discussion group as well as a focused walking meditation. Registration is encouraged, but not required.

  • April 24th, Sunday from 1-3pm – Mindfulness
  • May 29th, Sunday from 1-3pm – Contemplation In Nature
  • June 14th, Tuesday from 3-5pm – Object Based Meditation – Japa / Rosary
  • July 12th, Tuesday from 3-5pm – Rhythm walking
  • August 9th, Tuesday from 3-5pm – Breathing Meditation
  • September 18th, Sunday from 1-3pm – Intentionality & Practice Building
  • October 23rd, Sunday from 1-3pm -Potential Year End Date

Bliss Garden

Back To Bliss’ community garden project is located on the property of our McMillan Retreat Center. Everything about the layout and design of the garden is meant to help inspire us to spiritual study and to help us enjoy the beauty of nature. Several activity areas are planned including a labryinth, havan, outdoor class courtyard, and communal food and fire area. Many more practices from different spiritual traditions will be built into the garden as well.

This year, the main pathways are available for walking meditation. Our paths are grass covered. They are not perfectly even, and not suitable for those challenged by uneven ground. Bring weather appropriate clothing and footwear if you plan on participating in group walks.

Goals

It is our hope that after a summer examining the different styles and philosophies of walking meditation you will have a solid grounding for making it a lifelong tool for wellness. By gathering in a group setting we build momentum and inspiration from each other to undertake these practices. Walking meditation has many styles and some are very different. By taking a look through a broad assortment of them we will find the style and philosophy that best suits your personality and needs.

If we build a strong group with energy and momentum this summer we can continue through the winter with different forms of indoor meditation practices.

For questions, call our group facilitator, Josiah @ 715.897.6825 or comment on our facebook event pages.

Class Topic Descriptions

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has gotten a lot of attention lately so we will begin from here. Walking meditation from the buddhist mindfulness school involves very structured movement at a slow pace. You repeat thoughts based on the actions you are performing. The focus and repetition develop a space where you become very present with the motion of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations within you.

Contemplation In Nature

Contrasting the high structure and tight mental focus on our mindfulness practice, contemplation in nature is very unstructured. We attempt to use the energy from the natural setting to calm, replenish, and open us to a mental space where we can be free of our standard thought patterns. How we choose the topic of our contemplation and the way we set up a regular practice of such contemplations is dependant on our goals.

Object Based Meditation – Japa / Rosary

Object based meditation involves repeating a sound, phrase, or sight. Walking with a counting bead such as a mala or rosary, (finger counting works fine as well if you don’t have one) is a very calming experience. We will discuss the types of object for focusing upon that work best for walking meditation for any religious or spiritual tradition. This type of walking meditation has a moderate amount of structure and a slower walk.

Rhythm walking

Here we develop a type of focus that has more physical elements in it. These techniques can be applied to someone’s typical exercise walking practices to make your exercise more holistic. The mental focuses and awareness practices we implement are all based on the rhythm and pulse of the walk you choose. This practice can be applied to a vigorous paced walk, but any pace will work.

Breathing Meditation

With a specific focus on control and awareness of breath, these practices allow you to delve more powerfully into moving prana and balancing emotion. The topic of the day will be applying breath counting to the pace of your walk and breathing in the vitality from nature. These practices can be combined with previously discussed techniques to moderate them towards emotion and energy balancing.

Intentionality & Practice Building

By the end of the series we will have discussed techniques from many different traditions with subtle variations that help them focus on different parts of our being. These slight changes in focus allow us to gain deeper benefits in particular parts of our being. Today we will discus how to take the techniques and build  them into individual practices for personal benefit. Ideas such as: how long to walk, how many days in a row, what techniques help specifically with anxiety or anger will be discussed. You will build a personal practice and then as a group we will all walk our individual practices together.

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