Your Custom Walking Meditation Series in Six Easy Stepsby Dianna Bagley | 30/04/2018
I used to feel like I was incapable of meditation. Have you ever felt that way? Although the benefits were always attractive to me, the experience itself was often less than stellar. It occurred to me one day that, when I was walking in nature, my senses heightened, my mind became tranquil, and my body moved rhythmically with little effort. Turns out, I had been meditating all along; it just didn’t involve sitting down or being still.
Recalling past conversations about meditation, it seemed a lot of other people had expressed difficulty finding that coveted peace and stillness, too. On a whim, I decided to offer a walking meditation class, posted it on Facebook before I actually had a plan and, to my surprise, several people expressed interest almost immediately.
These six easy steps will help you design a class that clients will love!
Step One: Research and development…
Lovingkindness, sensory awareness, simple and traditional methods; there are as many ways to practice walking meditation as there are to practice yoga. The styles that resonate with you are ones you will enjoy sharing with your clients. I used a mix of styles; sometimes combining pieces of multiple practices and creating my own.
Over the course of four weekly classes, my students were exposed to several meditation techniques. The series included about eight different practices. Interestingly, the one I worried my clients would find boring ended up being a class favorite! We changed focus a few times during each session; starting with small meditative segments of 3-6 minutes with 5-10 minutes in between. By the end of our series, we were doing 25 minutes of meditation with just a few minutes’ separation.
Step Two: Location, location, location…
There are unlimited places to walk; be sure your location is safe for people who are not necessarily focused on where they’re going. This is where your students benefit from having a guide who is on the lookout for hazards. I found a local paved trail; well suited for the slower, more intentional movement that a walking meditation requires. It easily accommodated us without impeding use of the trail for others. Hilariously, several people we encountered on the trail called us out as a gang. (Imagine a gang of women wearing work-out clothes and running shoes, armed with water bottles.)
It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the park or trail and walk the course ahead of time. Not all meditators share the same level of fitness. Since the intent of the class was mindfulness and meditation rather than exercise, I chose flat, smooth terrain.
Step Three: Scheduling and creating interest…
Choose how often your class will meet and set the dates. Hosting a multi-class series, bought as a package, ensures everyone in the group is on the same page each time you meet. I took my group through a progression; each class building on the one before. Four weekly sessions worked well for me and my students. There were enough experiences for clients to get comfortable with the practice, while not being a big commitment of time or resources.
When determining price, it’s good to consider the costs involved and set your fee accordingly. Being close to home, I was able to price the series the same as if it were a package of four yoga classes.
Step Four: Who and how…
A group of eight or fewer was my target. Knowing that space is limited is a good incentive for clients to register early. Small groups of 5-10 are comfortable. Larger groups present more challenges; just a few talkative folks can change the experience for everyone. You know your clientele best, so choose a number you’re comfortable with. Payment at registration creates more confidence about participation and makes planning easier.
Social media is an accessible way to promote your classes. There are also email, community bulletin boards and, of course, word of mouth. Depending on how much you promote and the level of response, you may be able to have multiple concurrent or consecutive classes.
Step Five: Structure and content…
There are many advantages to meditation: clarity, stress reduction and increased mindfulness are some. Walking meditation provides those and more; getting you out of your head, connecting with nature, and increasing sensory awareness, to name a few. Sharing this information with clients adds value to the class. People enjoy learning about why this practice feels so good. It brings confidence, knowing there is science to back up their intuition.
I began each class with some deep breaths and mountain pose to ground and center us. Next, I explained the new technique, leaving a couple of minutes for the group to assimilate instructions and ask questions. Then we meditated, sometimes talking about our experiences between segments and other times walking in silence. I also assigned homework after each class, such as taking an element of the class forward into the week. The purpose of homework was to keep clients connected to the experience and introduce mindfulness habits. Have some flexibility in your plan. Just like in yoga, sometimes the energy of the class is different than you had expected. Other times, you encounter a herd of dancing goats and are compelled to stop and watch. True story.
Step Six: Details, details…
Be prepared; bring a bag or backpack with emergency contact information for each client, a phone (I used mine to time our meditation segments), some water, and a small first aid kit. It’s a good idea to include all the information a 911 operator asks for when you call; age, known medical conditions, allergies, and medications, on your emergency contact forms. Fortunately, we had zero incidents. The emergency contact and medical information went along in the backpack, though, just in case.
Finally, make sure you’re properly insured and have appropriate waivers, as you would for any other class. (Of course, you should rely on your own legal counsel or insurance company for legal and liability information.)
It’s a wrap!
This was such a fun class to create and teach. I learned as much as my clients did and it opened up a whole new category of service to my business. Before we reached the fourth week, my clients were asking about the next series. Here are some of the comments I received from my customer satisfaction surveys:
“[One of the things I liked best was] the new approach to meditation, i.e., meditation and movement; meditation in small segments.” -JG, client
“Intentionally focusing on sounds, sights, and smells created more mindfulness for me than trying to empty my mind.” -KM, client
“I use what you taught me every day. I even taught my husband some to help control his stress.” KH, client
Dianna Bagley is a Health & Wellness Coach and YogaFit trained RYT 200. Her passion is helping people discover the magnificence within them. She also enjoys hosting wellness retreats. It is her guiding philosophy that people don’t need to be fixed or led, they need to be seen, heard, and reunited with their intuition. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dance partner, Bill and fur baby, Emmett. The three of them enjoy camping, long walks anywhere, and hanging out with their adult human children. To see what Dianna’s up to and receive a PDF with some of the walking meditations used in her series, visit https://radiancerising.life/
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