What is Walking Meditation?
Walking meditation, also known as mindful walking, can help you build a strong foundation for mind and body wellnesses while helping you gain better peace of mind. While many people think of meditation as a practice that is all about sitting still, this is not the only way to meditate.
Take a look earlier into a mobile form of meditation; walking meditation.
What is Walking Meditation?
Walking meditation is just as easy as it sounds—all you need to do is remember the mental component of meditation and then… just walk! It is really that simple. However, it may seem a little strange if you haven’t done it before.
This is why we are here to help you with a detailed guide on what to do, what not to do, and what you can expect when you engage in a session of walking meditation.
The great part of this type of meditation is that, just like other forms of meditation, you only need 10-15 minutes per day to take advantage of this form of meditation.
How is Walking Meditation Different Than Regular Meditation?
Walking meditation has many of the same benefits as traditional, seated meditation. However, the major difference is that this form of meditation can help increase awareness of our internal sensations and external surroundings even more than regular meditation alone.
It encourages you to stop rushing from place to place on autopilot and to tune into real experiences as they happen. They act of meditating while interacting with the outside world can bring different benefits than traditional meditation alone.
What Are the Benefits of Walking Meditation?
So, what benefits can you expect from regular walking meditation?
- You will get more exercise.
- It allows you to get in touch with nature and the environment.
- Walking meditation can help you get out of your head.
- You will get to know your body better with your mind/body connection.
- It can strengthen your ability to focus and concentrate.
- This meditation will expand your everyday mindfulness.
- Walking meditation will increase your awareness of intention.
- You will be more connected to the present.
If you want to really take advantage of all of the benefits of walking meditation—then you will need to make sure that you engage in this practice daily. Chances are, with regular meditative walks just 15 minutes per day, you will start seeing the benefits within a week.
How to Perform Walking Meditation
Ready to give walking meditation a try? Here’s how to get started.
Pick the Right Location
You need to find the right location for walking meditation. The best place is somewhere that is tranquil and peaceful and allows you to walk at least 5-7 minutes out and 5-7 minutes back.
A smaller location will work, but at least give yourself 20 paces each way. Remember, your goal is to be actively walking, not to reach a certain destination, so it is more about the location than where the path goes.
Take Deliberate Steps
The steps you take while performing walking meditation are very important. You need to be very deliberate with your steps and remember, your focus should be on the act of walking, not necessarily on getting anywhere.
Break down the process of walking and taking steps and pay attention to each step that you take. Be aware of the action of lifting your foot off the ground. Pay attention to the feeling of your foot striking the ground, notice how it feels to take each step, including the shifting of your weigh and the pressure on your foot with each step you take.
What Do I Do With My Hands and Arms?
This is one of the biggest questions that people have about mindful walking—after all, you do spend a great deal of time being deliberate with your steps.
The best thing to do with your hands and arms is to put them in a position that is comfortable and natural to you. However, we recommend clasping your hands together behind your back or in front of you to keep your body more connected and to be more mindful of this part of your body.
The right speed is another important component of successful mindful walking. When engaging in walking meditation, you want to keep your speed slow and meaningful—but not so slow that it feels unnatural.
Your speed should not be exaggerated or overly stylized. Instead, it should be slow and intentional.
Don’t focus on forcing yourself to walk slower than what is comfortable for you, just focus on taking your time, being intentional, and not rushing towards a destination—instead just on enjoying the process of walking itself.
Focusing Your Attention
The final key to successful walking meditation is to make sure that you are focusing your attention on what is going on around you. As you walk, try to focus your attention on the different sensations around you, more particularly, on the sensations that you normally take for granted.
Pay attention to the sights, the smells and the sounds around you. Pay attention to your breath coming in and out of your body, of the feeling of the air against your skin, of the feeling of your feet connecting with the ground and of the way your head balances on your neck—the more mindful you can be of this practice of mindful walking, the better off you will be.
When you notice your mind is wandering—do your best to refocus your mind and your intentions. Wandering will happen when meditating, and in standard meditations while you refocus on your breath, walking meditation means refocusing your attention to one of these aforementioned sensations.
If you are looking for a new way to improve your mind, body and spirit—there is no better place to start than with walking meditation. This unique form of meditation will not only help clear your mind but help your body as well—with a simple ritual that will help you change your life for the better.