Kin Hin is a very beautiful practice of walking with presence, sometimes called Zen Walking. I remember still when first learning it on a Sesshin and being astounded at how gentle and profound it was. Kin Hin is essentially mindful walking and is generally practiced at the end of a seated Zazen. If Zazen goes for 25 minutes, Kin Hin is usually 5 minutes.
Kin Kin is considered the thread that strings together a solid Zen practice. It’s not only a welcome relief when practising long sessions of Zazen, but a beautiful awakening to the intricacies of movement.
To practice Kin Hin, a gentle fist is made with the right hand, and the other left hand gently cups the fist. The elbows are relaxed but held out a little wider than normal. This is called Sassho. Ensure before you begin walking that the spine is straight, the shoulders broad and the body in general relaxed. The gaze should be roughly 45 degrees ahead, slightly heavy-lidded with a soft gaze.
When walking, each step is slow, careful and you place all your awareness on the feeling of the feet on the floor, the air, the body’s alignment, the spine. Absolutely everything is gently acknowledged. Breath is soft and gentle and slow. You should be aware of each footstep, ball to toes and the movement this sends through the body. Most Kin Hin is practiced slowly, and some moves at a very fast past in the monasteries. I prefer a slow pace when practising at home.
At the end of a Kin Hin session, we bow, which is called Gassho.Palms are placed together in a traditional prayer position (although we are not praying in Gassho) and the head and upper body gently bow. We bow with gratitude.
I also suggest Kin Hin at any time of day. Essentially mindfully walking, with full attention on the body is a profound way of moving. I frequently practice this whilst walking the sand at the beach, and walking from lounge to kitchen, and bedroom to the bathroom. Although usually, my pace is a little faster than after meditation!
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