Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Benefits of Walking Meditation

To celebrate the start or return of many Bryant Park summer programs, and to introduce our readers to our fantastic partners, we asked our partners to write guest blog posts. This post comes from Qalvy Grainzvolt of the Shinnyo Center for Meditation and Well-Being, our partner for Wednesday morning Walking Meditation.   

Why is meditation important?

Meditation helps us wake up. We do this by knowing ourselves better and more profoundly.  Rather than thinking the ocean is only the waves and surface. In a similar way, who we are … our consciousness is not only the thoughts and activity at the surface of our minds. Through reflection that comes with meditation, we can know the depths and treasures that each of us possess at our inner core. Meditation is a gift we give ourselves but even more so, it is a gift, in fact, that we offer to the world.

Qalvy leads a group on a slow, mindful walk around the perimeter of the lawn.

Tell me some quantifiable results from meditating?

There are many forms of meditation so with different aims and goals there are varying benefits. I can’t speak to the benefits of all forms. I would say that stress-reduction, relaxation and deeper self-awareness are quantifiable results that accompany most meditation styles. Countless studies indicate so. Cultivating inner peace, compassion and gratitude, and greater capacity to deal with, for lack of a better word, difficult people in life, are additional benefits that I think with time can be seen in a tangible way. Each individual is unique and the benefits will be equally unique to each person who practices meditation.

Imagine starting your day with important self-care in a beautiful environment.

What impact has meditation had in your life?

For me, meditation is something that began as a sedentary activity but has blossomed into something more. Finding inner stillness helps me to make sense of my life each step along the way and allows for moments of precious insight and empowerment to arise. Living my daily life with these small moments of awakening, I find that when I am not sitting in formal meditation, my daily routines and encounters become, in a sense, a walking meditation. Acquiring this state of mind as often as possible, for me, cycles back into a deeper meditation when I sit, more joy, more peace and a more refreshed perspective when I’m walking.

The group meets at the Upper Terrace for introductory remarks and breathing exercises to ease into the practice. 

What would you say to someone who is interested in meditation, but is intimidated to try it?

Observing and being aware of our reactions and thoughts are so important. Feeling intimidated is a valid feeling when approaching something unknown, like meditative practice. If we break it down a bit, the ingredients of a beginning meditation are: finding a relaxed posture in a quiet atmosphere, breathing comfortably, a little bit of time and an open mind. I think most people have experience with each one of these ‘ingredients’, so there is nothing truly foreign about the practice. What sort of experience each one of us ‘cooks’ with these ingredients can be different, unique and equally wonderful.  Especially with guided meditation, there is an added layer of comfort and support that you can rely on with a meditation guide helping the process to unfold in a meaningful way.

Walking Meditation
with the Shinnyo Center for Meditation and Well-Being
June 3 - September 30
Wednesdays, 8:30am - 9am
Upper Terrace Gravel, across from the Bryant Park Cafe

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