Alternate Activity 2: Walking Meditation
Activity time: 5 minutes
Preparation for Activity
- Choose a location for your walking meditation, preferably an outdoor area with few distractions. Obtain permission to take children outdoors, and make sure you have an adequate number of adults to accompany the group.
Description of Activity
Gather the children where you will do your walking meditation. Say:
Meditation is a spiritual practice that people use to become calm and focused and in tune with themselves and the world around them. Many people practice meditation while sitting, but we're going to do it while walking.
The goal here is not to walk really fast or really slow. We are walking to be aware of ourselves as we walk, not to get anyplace.
Invite children to stand in a circle so they can extend their arms to each side without touching anyone else. Then (pausing as indicated) say:
Feel the ground under your feet, and the way your body adjusts to hold you upright.... Take a deep breath and let it out.... Again, take a deep breath, feeling it go all the way down into your belly, and then let it out.... Now, we'll begin walking. Remember, our feet are moving, but not our mouths. You can choose where you will walk, but make sure you're not interfering with anyone else.
You may wish to have the children walk in a circle. Form a few small circles if you have room and enough adults to supervise. With limited space, form several concentric circles to avoid chaos or collision. Continue:
Feel the ground under your feet.... Is it rough or smooth, hard or springy?... Feel your legs as you walk, the way your muscles tighten and relax.... As you walk, relax your shoulders, and feel your head floating, your eyes guiding your steps, but not needing to focus on anything except what is right in front of you.... Notice how you are feeling.... Happy?... Sad?... Impatient?... Just notice the feelings and the thoughts as they come to you, and then let them go as you step past them.... Notice your breathing, how the air enters your body and then leaves again, as your thoughts enter your mind, and then you let them go.... Now gently come to a stop. Take one more deep breath and let it out, as we leave our meditation.
Including All Participants
If children in the group use wheelchairs or have other mobility limitations, adapt the language of this meditation to be inclusive of their experience. For instance, call this a moving meditation rather than a walking meditation; advise the group to feel "your body pressing against the surface that holds you" rather than the "ground beneath your feet."
A blind participant may be comfortable walking in a circle with the group. Ask whether the participant would like to walk holding hands with someone and, if so, provide a willing volunteer.
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