You’ve seen monks do it—walking slowly and silently, every step is done mindfully. Those who meditate don’t just do so sitting down, sometimes they also walk around in what is commonly known as walking meditation. In fact, mindfulness meditation can be practiced while doing different things like gardening, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, and so on.
Mindful walking requires that the practitioner focuses on the act of walking itself, paying close attention to the movements and sensations in the body, like the way the feet touch the ground, the arms swinging by one’s side, and so on. The mind, in particular, must always be anchored in the present moment.
The benefits of walking meditation
For practitioners of mindfulness meditation, walking provides a good opportunity to develop focus and concentration. It invigorates the mind and body, promotes peace and relaxation, and helps to address anxieties and stress. Walking, as we all know, is good for the heart as it improves our circulation, burns calories, and promotes general health.
Whenever we walk after a meal, upon waking, or after sitting meditation, we warm up our bodies and give our muscles and organs a light exercise. Additionally, walking meditation can easily be incorporated into our day since we do walk around several times during the day.
Here are a few pointers to consider with regard to walking meditation:
Choose a safe and quiet place for walking. It can be a small room, a garden, the beach, or a park. Avoid distractions.
Wear comfortable clothes and footwear.
Start by breathing deeply and bringing your attention to your body. Feel the ground and the way it feels beneath your feet. Pay attention to your sensations, feelings, and thoughts.
Walk very slowly with your eyes open. Your breathing must be normal. Look straight ahead with a soft gaze.
As you walk, focus on the movements you are making. You can walk in a circle or back and forth as long as you do it mindfully and naturally.
When you become distracted, simply bring your focus back to your walking. A 15-minute walk would be great as a start.
When you want to end your practice, gently stop and take a few deep breaths. Scan your body to notice feelings and sensations.