Our Four Zen Dojo Body Katas

Put your thumb in the middle of your left hand and make a soft fist by embracing your thumb with your four fingers. This is called. “Gently embracing the Infant.” Now, place your softly held fist in the middle of your lower abdomen.  The top of the fist, where your thumb is, should be at the bottom edge of your belly button.

Take your right hand and cover your left fist as in the picture above. This is called, “Upholding the precious treasure.”  When you are holding the Shashu kata, your eyes should be half open at a forty five degree angle and you should be gently breathing only from your nostrils.  As you inhale, sink into the felt warmth and sensuality of your lower abdomen. Sense your body’s vital center point of gravity that is located about two inches below your navel.

Whenever you walk in Shashu, walk with the dignity and uprightness of a true human being. You will embody the Shashu Kata when you walk toward the entrance of the Dojo or Zen meditation area, when you are going to exit the  Dojo, whenever you walk in the Dojo toward your mat and cushion, and when you do Kinhin or walking meditation.

Shashu Kata

Kinhin Kata

Half-Step Walking Meditation

We walk in kinhin while in single file, about an arms length apart from each other. As we walk in kinhin together, we hold our Shashu hand mudra on the middle of your lower abdomen, breathe through our nostrils, sink into our body’s center point of gravity with each breath, and keep our eyes half open as in the photo above. We take a very small half-step together like a caterpillar with many legs. The photos going from right to left  demonstrate one half step during kinhin.

The Hand Kata Of Zazen-Only

Thumbs gently touching. Kept horizontal to the floor. 

We Gassho and bow at the waist when we enter or exit the Dojo. We also Gassho and bow toward our meditation chair, mat, or cushion before we sit. This is called, “Bowing to the place where you let go of ego-self to meet the still integrity of core-Self. Then we slowly turn, bow outward, and include all human beings in the ancient body of Zen meditation that is known as zazen-only.

Gassho Kata

Palms Together At Chin Level


Zazen In Cross Legged Burmese Style

Eyes Are Half Open

Our Way OF Bowing

"In Zen, we bow to honor our visceral bodily experience of timeless stillness, vast Oneness, boundless intimacy, and limitless interdependency."