A Guide to Walking Meditation
Meditation is not limited to sitting, or lying down (done often in sound-bath meditation). In fact, mindfulness meditation can be practiced in almost any space and in a variety of ways. You can even do a quick meditation session in your car, at work, at home or even the beach! But, to some individuals surprise, you can even meditate as you walk.
There are often times during the day where you may say to yourself, "I need to step away and clear my head", or "I'm going to take a quick walk outside to get some fresh air". Well...There is a reason for these types of statements. Often, it has to do with stress, and needing a break from the craziness that is sometimes going on around us. Heck, maybe it's just about enjoying the beautiful weather on a cool spring day.
Instead of using your phone, listening to the latest podcast or music, why not attempt to really take in and explore your thoughts. Sync you body and mind. Instead of walking aimlessly away from your emotions, why not confront them, figure out why they are there, what triggered them, and how we can recover and learn to cope with the stressor(s) at hand.
A 2017 study showed that forms of exercise (like walking as it pertains to this article) is more effective at relieving bouts of anxiety when done in concurrence with meditation, or where meditation is performed before or after the exercise.
Walking itself, offers a host of health benefits, but when combined with meditation you can better connect your mind and body. In fact, one study compared the effect of Buddhist walking meditation vs traditional walking effect on blood sugar levels and circulation. In conclusion, the Buddhist walking meditation "produced several favorable benefits often superior to traditional walking, in patient with type II diabetes".
You can take this time to get in tune with yourself and the present moment. Why not take what is a normal routine and turn it into a mindfulness activity?
Here is where we come in to help!
The following article will provide you knowledge about walking mediation and ways to perform this stress-reducing activity.
How To Start Practicing Walking Meditation:
Walking meditation can seem simple. However, there are a few steps you want to take into account when practicing this form of meditation. Remember, meditation is a mind training practice, so during walking meditation, our mind is focused on the present.
A few key differences to this form of meditation practice, is you'll have your eyes open, using things like the rhythm of your steps, while also paying attention to your breath. These things will help you stay focused in the present.
We will provide the relevant steps and tips you need to successfully meditate while you walk!
Meditating while walking, and meditation in general (as there are many forms of meditation), can be performed in several ways. The following instructions will introduce you to the basics of this practice.
1. Figure Out Where You Will Meditate
Before you do anything, you'll want to find a good location to walk and meditate. Again, you can do this practice almost anywhere, but you do want to be a little bit discerning about your meditation space, even if you're on the move.
Meditating in a place with heavy traffic, may be difficult, especially if this is something new to you. However, doing a meditation walk session in the city, using a fast-pace IS possible.
Check out this great guide to meditation walking in the city, on Headspace.com!
Due to the fact you're focused in the present moment, breath and syncing your mind-body, it's important to be cognizant that you're not in a stationary position, so be mindful.
You can even do a brief mindfulness meditation or transcendental meditation prior to walking meditation. You should meditate somewhere that is peaceful, and somewhere that will allow you to modify your pace and even walk back and forth.
Before you begin, attempt to ground yourself for a moment through your breath.
2. Begin Walking
Now, begin to walk.
As you walk, focus on your senses. Focus on how your body is feeling and different sensations you may have, taking confident strides. You can walk as far as you want or as short a length as you want, heck you can even perform walking meditation in your home. There is no perfect way to do this in general, but there are ways to perform this better based on the individual.
Do you walk in a straight line? DO you walk in a circular pattern? Do you walk back and forth, following the same path?
As you walk, focus on how your steps feel on the ground beneath you.
3. Stay Mindful of Each Step
Walking meditation requires more than just walking. Instead, you want to stay mindful of each step you take. You can even count your steps then take notice of each aspect of your walk.
If your mind begins to wonder, bring it back to your walking rhythm, taking note of how you feel, paying attention to you gait. Observe your posture, maintain a confident stride as you continue.
For instance, feel how your foot lifts from the ground and then presses into it as you step forward. Notice how it rises and brings your body forward slightly.
This can all seem trivial, but bringing attention to the mechanics of your walking will help keep you present, but also help bring your mind back, if need be.
4. Consider Speed and Body Position
After you take notice of how your feet and body work as one, you can even walk at different paces, as long as you are in the here and now, switching gears slightly will not matter.
Most individual's tend to keep walking meditation at a slower pace, however an extremely slow or faster pace is possible as well. Don't just focus on speed however, notice your posture.
Arm and hand placement should also be noteworthy. While some will choose to walk "traditionally" with there arms by there sides, you may also choose to clasp your hands behind your back, or hold them in front of you as you walk.
Related Article: Meditation Anywhere! Ideas to DIY an Outdoor Meditation Space
5. Hone In On Your Other Senses
When you walk, take note of not only the senses you feel from your body, but the things around you. Tune in to what is going on, like cars going by, nature, and other sights and sounds. However, the goal here is to not think about them extensively, it's simply to acknowledge there awareness.
Even your own breath may not be a focus, like in traditional meditation practice, instead we use the things around us to keep us present, but not to let them become our focus. Our focus in walking meditation is usually our rhythmic walking motion.
6. Stay In The Moment
It is normal for your mind to wander during any type of mediation. During a walking meditation session though, this is especially true. There are all kinds of distractions that could set off a new train of thought, and with so much to take in, you could easily get lost in thoughts or emotions.
Consistent body checks may be one thing that can help keep you anchored in and focused. This is, like traditional meditation, a time to consistently connect your physical self to your mind.
So try to stay anchored in on the present moment. Stick to what is happening right in front of you. Pick a sensation to focus on and go back to that when your mind begins to drift off.
Walking meditation can take patience and
time. At first, you may have difficulty understanding how to approach this style of practice, but
if done regularly, you will improve your focus and attention and may even begin to change how you react and/or cope to stressful scenarios and situations.
We recommend walking slowly at first. This will make it easier to notice each sensation felt on your feet. Don't overcomplicate things, take note of how your feet go forward one step at a time, and let your mind follow the rhythm of your feet and pace.
Before any walking meditation, take note of your surroundings, because safety is always first priority.
Thanks for stopping by, we hope to have you again soon. Please share any meditation strategies you may use in the blog comments section!