When Meditation comes to mind, our imagination pictures an image of someone sitting still. Most of the time with his eyes closed. And, we always imagine it to be a quiet place with the lights dimmed and candles burning. Thus, the person is completely still and totally focused on his mind. Certainly, that is one way to meditate. However, it is not the only way. You can also meditate while your body is in motion. For example, when you are walking. And, this is where we talk about “Walking Meditation”
Then What Is Walking Meditation?
Walking meditation is simply the awareness that comes through paying attention to the present moment while the body is in motion.
However, walking meditation is more than just strolling about. The aim is to train one to be mindful as possible. Moreover, this practice is all about being aware of our body and physical sensations as we move. That is to say, while the body moves, the mind is in the present moment.
We are now going to see how to practice walking meditation. And, of course, the benefits of walking meditation.
How To Practice Walking Meditation
You may have to walk in a clockwise direction around the room. On the same note, you may hold one hand closed in a fist. And, you can use the other hand to grasp or cover the fist. During walking meditation, take each step after each full breath.
The pace of walking meditation may be slow (several steady steps per each breath). Or, brisk, almost to the point of jogging.
To practice walking meditation, you consider a lot of factors which are:
Choosing A Location
You can look for a place where you can walk slowly without obstacles. It should be a serene environment without traffic. Ideally, it should be flat enough that you do not have to worry about stumbling. However, if you are walking in a public space, you will need to take care not to get in the way of others. Moreover, practicing indoors may be a better option since you can focus directly on mindfulness. And, you will face less distraction from your surroundings.
When you find a proper place, begin each session by securing yourself. That is to say, take a minute to breathe deeply as you bring your full attention to your body. Sense how stable the ground feels beneath your feet. Be aware of the many different sensations within your body. Most importantly, take note of your thoughts and feelings as well. Then, start walking slowly.
In walking meditation, rather than focus on the breath, direct your attention to the movement of your feet. Also, consider the motion of your body as it advances. Just walk slowly and mindfully in a circle. Or, in a back and forth direction.
If you are turning around or turning a corner, be as mindful as you can. Consequently, watch the position of your feet and the accompanying sensations. It is good to walk for at least 10 minutes. Moreover, you can always take a break and stretch. Or, simply stop moving and check in with yourself.
Awareness Of Your Body
The first thing is to keep being attentive to the soles of your feet. And, its alternating patterns of contact and release.
Secondly, let your ankles relax and make sure you are not holding in any way. Be aware of your hips, the muscles around your hip joints and try to relax those muscles. Even when you think you have relaxed, relax them some more. And, just notice how that changes your walk.
- Notice your belly. You might feel your clothing in contact with your belly. Also, notice how your belly is the center of your body. Very often we feel like it is down there because we are so much in our heads. So, seek to what extent you can feel that your belly is the center of your body. And, see it as the center of your being.
- Notice your chest, and just let your breathing happen.
- Relax your jaw. Ease your eyes and just let your eyes focus softly. Subsequently, gently look ahead not staring at anything. Also, do not allow yourself to be caught up in anything that is going past you.
Maintaining Mindfulness As You Walk
Observe the varying physical sensations that manifest as you walk. As a result, take note of your feelings, thoughts, and mood. There is no need to interfere with the sensations or, analyze, accept or reject them. Just notice these mental events as they arise. Subsequently, go back to the practice of walking. Above all, try not to be rigid while you are walking. Just be flexible and simply walk naturally with kindness and an open heart.
Gently Adapting With The Flow
Once you connect a lot of positive thoughts will kick in. Always adapt to it. Make proper use of it. And, have an engaging mindful meditation.
Speed And Posturing
The pace of walking meditation usually ranges from slow to extremely slow. You can let your arms swing loosely by your sides. And, hold them behind your back. Or, clasp them in front of your body around the height of your diaphragm or navel. Also, your leg muscles should relax as you walk. And, your movement should be natural and comfortable.
Above all, walk with poise, keeping your body upright, aligned, and dignified. This may be a bit challenging at first, but with practice, you will definitely get used to it.
Here you can be aware of your feelings. Although, not in terms of emotions, but, just the tone of your feeling. Check if there are things that feel pleasant and things that feel unpleasant within or outside your body. However, if you notice things in your body that are pleasant or unpleasant, just let them be. Do not cling onto them, or try to push them away. Instead, just be aware of their presence.
On the other hand, if you notice things in the outside world that are either pleasant or unpleasant, just allow them to pass. Hence, just take note of them without following them. Nor, trying to keep your gaze from them.
Thoughts And Emotions
You will eventually notice your emotional condition. Check whether you are bored, anxious, or nervous. Or, maybe you are feeling very happy with the process? Again, just notice whatever emotions that happen to be present. And, notice your mind also. Is your mind clear, or dull? Is your mind busy, or, is it calm? Are you thinking about things unconnected with this practice? In fact, whatever you have your thoughts centered on. Kindly notice these states of mind with no judgmental reasoning.
Balancing Inner And Outer Self
Can you notice the balance between your experience of the inner and the outer world? To clarify, you will often find that you can be aware of both the inner world and the outer world in equal balance. In addition, your mind settles at a point of stillness and calmness.
Noticing The Movements
It is vital to pay attention to your foot movement such as lifting and how your legs move and fall. You also need to feel your feet touching the ground. And, also make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Doing mindful walking meditation can help to release sorrows and worries. Moreover, it also accommodates bring peace and calmness into your mind and body always.
You can practice meditation all alone or with another person. In the process of walking, you need to inhale in one step and try to exhale in the next step. Always try to take notice of road signals, vehicles, the lanes, and others around you. Moreover, your mind may often wander back and forth. However, try to guide it back without getting frustrated.
Spending More Time With The Environment
Spending more time with the environment can heal your body, mind, and your soul as well. This helps to break out the mental mind from restlessness. Most of all, try to enjoy each part of your movement. And, connect with your body and mind. Also, doing this regularly can reduce emotional stress and help drop the rate of nervousness and depression.
Sharing The Peace And Serenity
You can walk with someone who does not know about walking meditation and is willing to learn. In mindful walking meditation, try to desist from talking. This is so as to maintain awareness of your breathing. And, to be aware of the steps that you take.
Also, make sure to enjoy each other’s company. When you are in peace, it can help the other person to be calmer and more connected with the beauty around them. While practicing walking meditation, try to nourish peace, joy, compassion, and gratitude with every step.
You can do mindful walking in a park or while walking on the street. However, there is a need to set the intention that the walking is for the purpose of meditation. It is important that you keep your attention to the present moment and not to adhere to any sights or sounds. Also, you can try to be aware of the physical sensations or feelings such as air, rain or sunshine. Hence, acknowledging the sensations can help you to stay aware of your surroundings. But, do not let your thoughts to completely get involved in physical sensations.
At this stage, you are coming to a natural halt. That is to say, you are just allowing yourself to come to a stop. During this stage you will experience yourself standing, your body is no longer in motion. Moreover, you will feel the weight of your body traveling down through the soles of your feet into the earth. Thus, having the real experience of relief. And, consequently, bringing this walking meditation to a close.
Benefits Of Walking Meditation
Walking meditation is done while the body is in motion. As a result, it is suitable for people who like to walk rather than sit and contemplate. Hence, they can derive countless benefits which are:
Attainment Of A Calm And Relaxed Mind
Mindful walking meditation allows you to enjoy the pleasure of walking. In addition, it helps to increase your oxygen intake. And, also to re-energize yourself when you are feeling down.
It can be helpful to reduce anxiety when you try to meditate. Moreover, you can chant encouraging positive phrase such as “I am healthy” or “I am in a good shape” or “I am happy”. As a result, you start to be aware of how fresh, happier, and livelier you become.
The list of benefits include:
- Mindful walking meditation energizes you in a very clever way as you become more aware of yourself while being active.
- Some people are subject to be more intense while walking. As a result, it is easier for them to be aware of their body while walking than sitting.
- Walking meditation increases your stamina for long walks. That is to say, your physical strength will increase.
- Since you need to concentrate not only on the walking but, also on other movements, your mental health increases as well.
- Being aware of both walking and movement involves intense concentration. Thus, walking meditation is very good for improving your concentration.
- You become very alert by concentrating on each object and distractions around you.
- Walking meditation can help increase awareness both of our internal sensations and our external surroundings.
- Paying closer attention to the process of walking can also increase our sense of appreciation and enjoyment of our physical bodies.
- If you want to be mindful throughout the day, practicing walking meditation in the morning is a good way of achieving that.
- The best part of walking meditation is that you can fit in your spare time. It could be a walk to the supermarket from the car. Or, any such ordinary work during which you can practice it and derive great benefits.
- By practicing mindful walking meditation, you will be aware of each step and you try to cultivate mindfulness.
- Mindful walking meditation will ease you a lot of stress after a hard day at work or the long hours of sitting in the office.
- While stepping outdoors and start walking, it brings a deeper connection between your mind and body.
- Also walking Meditation is a good practice for beginners and advanced practitioners alike.
- Practiced in tandem with sitting meditation, movement meditation provides additional insights.
- You can easily integrate walking meditation into your schedules. Since walking is something most of us do as an everyday activity.
- Walking meditation gives us an opportunity to remember the earth that sustains us and develop gratitude.
- You can do your walking meditation outdoors, or, on the office floor, or, hallway. Moreover, this helps you to be aware of what is around you. And, it is important to walk at your natural pace.
- Mindful walking meditation gives you the physical benefits of walking (like a healthier heart and calorie burning). Also, active meditation sheds stress.
- Mindful walking is not only about walking back and forth. But, to remain fully aware of each step that you take.
- You can try to incorporate mindfulness into your daily activity. And, you can do it by watching the breath or gathering awareness. Be it while walking down the street or in the market. Rather than traveling mechanically.
- Practicing both walking meditation and sitting meditation alternatively improves your health. Meditation by sitting and walking helps in building good health.
- Sitting and walking makes a shift in your posture which increases circulation and thereby making you healthier.
- Performing walking meditation after eating helps you to keep your bowels clear. Not only will your digestive system be better, but, you can avoid the common drowsiness after eating.
Does Walking Meditation Benefit Beginners?
Yes, walking meditation is great for beginners since walking is a familiar part of our everyday experience.
Last Thought On Walking Meditation
Although the article detailed the vital aspects of mindful walking Meditation. However, we do not need special tactics to meditate. Therefore, we can practice with a beginner mindset. And, grow to a professional level. It is just an act of consistency and time management.
Mindful walking meditation is a perfect complement to our seated meditation practice. On the other hand, it is meditation in motion. Also, walking meditation has always been great to whoever that engages in it. It involves our everyday activity. Thereby, you can practice it often.
Walking meditation is more than just strolling about. Remember that we are training in being as mindful as possible. As a result, practice is all about being aware of our body and physical sensations as we move. Our eyes are open and our mind and body aware of the present.
You should always imagine that you print peace, serenity, and happiness on the ground as you meditate.
Always have that consciousness of being attentive to all thoughts running in your mind. Therein, through this practice, establish methods to tackle it thereafter.
Though the mind can go in a thousand directions, but in a beautiful path. Always walk in peace. With each step, the mind blows and new change takes place.
Simply put, change is constant, and Walking Meditation ensures that!