Walking labyrinths has become a more sought-after experience in wellness tourism and yoga some retreat centres and integrating them into the landscape for guest enjoyment. Historically they were used in ancient Greece and it has roots in Hindu Lore as well. For more history of the labyrinth, you can click here.
The World Wide Labyrinth Locator website, the global directory for finding these mystical mazes, now features 5,400 labyrinths in 80 countries, with the list growing quite regularly. To me, a labyrinth offers a place to connect with the earth and do a walking meditation of sorts. Since I personally get so much grounding, and connection to nature, I cherish a walk in a labyrinth about once a month. The following are some of the tips I have picked up over the years from walking labyrinths around the globe:
10 Steps for a Memorable Labyrinth Experience:
- Find a labyrinth to try the following experience on labyrinthlocator.com/ and I think you will be pleasantly surprised to search the directory and you will likely see you have some closer than you think!
- Now that you have found the site and are ready to start, orient yourself with any posted guidelines that may be listed on the website or on site (if any). These may include but are not limited to:
- Being silent while walking the labyrinth
- Respect others may have a slightly different walking pace or approach than you do
- Indoor site may ask you to remove your shoes while outdoor site may require or be footwear optional
- If it is a common practice at the particular labyrinth you are visiting, you may wish to leave an offering of a flower, stone or crystal or small financial donation as thanks for allowing you to use the space. Some places it is not appropriate to leave anything as it will create a tripping hazard or clutter that needs to be managed. Often volunteers manage the labyrinth and there are little to no funds to do so. Therefore, it is important to assess what the common practices are there and respect and not create more work for the caretakers.
- Generally, it is good to start the walk with a brief meditation and intention setting at the entrance to the circle. You may stand with your eyes open or closed, facing into the circle and this likely also means you are facing the middle of the labyrinth which is considered the power center.
- Next begin walking at a slow meditative pace through the path on the labyrinth; the inward journey is when you set your intention and focus of slowly letting go of anything you no longer need (thoughts, memories, emotions or beliefs that no longer serve.)
NOTE: Try to give the persons ahead of you, adequate space so they don’t feel rushed.
If you meet someone approaching you in the opposite direction, you may non-verbally acknowledge them with kindness and make room for them to pass without stepping on the lines or dividing items like stones or plants that demarcate the pattern on the ground.
“The point of a maze is to find its center; the point of a labyrinth is to find your center.”
- Some people will pause at every point in which the path turns / changes direction within the labyrinth. This is a time one may pause to give gratitude, pray or give extra attention to the letting go.
- When you reach the middle, ideally you have released all that you no longer need. The middle is considered a concentrated power center and as such it is an ideal place to rest and take a little time (assuming that is appropriate with respect to those walking before and after you). Some people may lay in the center if they have the space and time to do so without impacting others. Others will stop and pause with eyes closed. Whatever your method, there is no single right or wrong as long as it is done with a good intention and not disregarding others or the local guidelines that are posted at that site. It is common for individuals to have very emotional or intuitive experiences while in the center so a supportive environment is encouraged.
- During The outward walk, it is time to set intentions of what you want to attract into your life. Simply walk the same path on your way out at a similar pace repeating in your mind what those positive affirmations are.
- Once you reach the end of the Labyrinth walk it is a lovely time to face the middle of the circle, silently think about an intention of gratitude, silently saying thanks in whatever way feels authentic such as with hands at heart.
- Allow yourself time to journal, sit and meditate off to the side so you do not block the flow of others walking. You may have your own quiet methods to integrate the experience because it may be quite profound. Do not plan to rush off and do another activity immediately after as it may be a challenge to transition.
And there you have it, my tips that I have picked up over the years from books and walking in different regions.
One of my favorite sites is called the Sacred Garden in Maui. What is yours?
Do you wish you could have a personal labyrinth of your own use?
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