Thursday, October 19, 2017

Self Study

We studied the 4th Niyama today, Savadhayaya, self study.  Self study, very few spend the time to study our inner and outer selves.  Meditation is a way to study self.  So for class today we did walking meditations.   It was the perfect day for it, clear skies, 72 degrees, a hint of color in the trees.
None of the students had done a walking meditation.  Sometimes a walking meditation can be more difficult than sitting and breathing.

As we gathered outside near the edge of the woods where I work, I sat the parameters of where we would walk.  There is a large field between the parking lot and the woods, it was the perfect place.
I explained that we would do two different meditations.  For the first, we walk slowly, hands clasped, in a line,  ten steps forward and then turn around and retrace our steps to the starting point.  We would practice mindfulness by keeping our focus on our breath and steps.  No talking and no interaction with each other, the timer was set for five minutes.

For the next meditation,  we would practice awareness.  Once again no talking or interaction, but we could walk the field, gazing up, down around.  We would walk slowly, maybe stopping to observe a leaf or the sky.  We would be aware of the sky, any sounds, smells, the sensation of walking on grass and soil, any wildlife.  We would be aware of everything around us and by doing that, the stress of the day would leave, and our minds would no longer race.  This time the timer was set for ten minutes.  The students were awestruck by the time we went back to the room.  They all mentioned seeing and being aware of things they had never noticed on the grounds.  They were calm and peaceful.  They realized how important taking a walk can be.

Clasping the hands is important, it keeps you from swinging your arms, it helps you to walk slowly.
Remembering to breathe is just as important. If you have never done a walking meditation try it sometime.  It will take walking to a whole new level for you.


  1. I think I will try that.

    I have done some awareness exercises to see how we depend on many many people everyday, people who are now gone even but it's not Yoga.

    For example, as I sit to eat my breakfast, I chew my food very slowly as I ponder thankfully about the countless people who have had a role to play in bringing the cornflakes to my table.

    The people who harvested the corn for my cornflake, the people who sold, and transported the corn seed, the people who made the equipment to plant and harvest the corn, the equipment designers, the dealer who sold the equipment, the minors who worked in the mine to get the steel and other metals for the equipment, and the awareness exercise can go on for a long time, right down to the chair and table I'm using.

    Every object we use has many people responsible for making it possible. It's a great thanksgiving exercise and a thankful heart is a happy heart. We all need each other.

    Sorry, but I do get carried away.
    Hugs, Julia

  2. that is a beautiful way to practice awareness Julia. I suggest to some of my students that they do the same with washing dishes. To think about where the dish came from, who ate the food on the dish, who prepared it, the feel of the water and the soap, the act of drying the dish and returning it to its storage. you are correct gratitude brings joy.

  3. I got that idea from a book I read. The Art of Happiness by the Dali Llama. I lent the book to someone and I never saw it back.
    Hugs, Julia