For some, sitting still and meditating comes easily. For others, such as myself, it can be a bit challenging. If you fall into the latter category, breathwalking allows you to move your body in order to consciously focus your attention inward. Derived from Kundalini yoga, breathwalking is a technique that combines four simple elements: measured breathing, finger tapping, continuous stepping and a focused mantra repetition.
- Take four short inhales through your nose and release four short exhales through your nose or mouth. This is known as “stairs” breathing (think of your breath as if it’s walking up and down a set of four stairs). Repeat until you have achieved a rhythm.
- Once you’ve got the breathing down, tap your fingers with each breath. Start on an inhale, and touch your pointer finger to your thumb, followed by your middle finger to your thumb on the second inhale and step, your ring finger to your thumb on the third inhale and step, and your pinky to your thumb on the final inhale. On your exhales, repeat the finger taps, starting with your pointer finger again. The tapping creates powerful mudras that bestow the following:
- index finger + thumb = wisdom
- middle finger + thumb = focus
- ring finger + thumb = energy
- little finger + thumb = connectedness
- Begin walking by synchronizing your strides with your breath and finger tapping, inhaling through your nose every step for four paces.
- Incorporating a mantra with your breathing and finger tapping will help deepen your focus. Kirtan Kriya, also referred to as SA-TA-NA-MA meditation or chant is a great breathwalking mantra. Derived from SatNam which means True Divine Nature, each syllable is a metaphor for birth, life, death and rebirth. If you are doing stairs breathing, say one syllable per step, breathe, and finger. You can also create your own sounds or phrases.
Be patient and gentle with yourself as you begin this practice. Your mind may wander at first but you will slowly develop mindfulness of the present moment.
Image used with permission by Nirrimi Firebrace.