Try this practice after you get used to the other modes. Practice initially, at home, walking deliberately at a slow and halting pace.
Stand still and take a deep breath. As soon as the out-breath starts, move one of the legs ahead. When the foot touches the floor, silently count ‘one’. When the other foot touches the floor, count ‘one’ again. Keep on counting ‘one’ every time a foot touches floor, as long as the out-breath lasts. As soon as the in-breath starts, stop walking and counting.
Take a deep breath again, feeling the coolness. When the second out-breath begins, repeat the above process but this time, count ‘two’ every time a foot touches the floor. Rest of the process is same as above.
Take a deep breath again, feeling the coolness. When the third out-breath begins, repeat the above process, this time count ‘three’ every time a foot touches the floor. Rest of the process is same as above.
Repeat the above three steps. Return to counting ‘one’ after reaching ‘three’. If for any reason you forget the last number counted, start from ‘one’ again.
Keep on practicing as long as you have time. As you walk, focus on the sensations in your legs, feet, hips and hands. Let the hands be relaxed and swing like pendulums, in rhythm with the feet. Walk at a slow pace till you get used to this new practice.
When you become comfortable counting breaths with intermittent walking, switch to normal uninterrupted walking. Walk during in-breaths also, just feeling the coolness, without counting. Keep your eyes focused on the floor 8 to 10 feet, ahead of you. You can walk in a straight line in a hallway or in a wide circle inside a bog room. Once you get used to this practice, feel comfortable and safe, you can practice when walking at any place – home, office, parking lot, stores …so on.
When this practice becomes a habit, you can practice while jogging or running on the tread mill. I enjoy using breath counting or chanting (1) my favorite chant while doing Yoga, playing table tennis and on the tread mill.
Benefits: This practice is very important for developing ‘focusing on breathing’ into a spontaneous process, in about 6 months. Once you reach this stage, you will be relaxing automatically whenever you take a few steps which happens throughout the day. Dream of reaching this great state and practice whenever you walk.
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Parent page: ‘Phase I – Daytime practice’