Have you ever set off to walk somewhere and found yourself a few minutes later at your destination but with no real idea of how you arrived there? It’s a very common thing that happens when we walk down a street lost in thought. We can easily get lost in our thoughts that we forget to be present.
It’s not always a bad thing, it can be nice to let your mind wander while you walk, but sometimes that mental chatter is not productive, especially when they are negative.
Walking is very easy to do, even semi-consciously. We are moving our legs and bodies but our minds are somewhere else, thinking about what we have to do next or worrying, analyzing, and imagining scenarios beyond the present.
This is where walking meditation comes in handy.
When you try a walking meditation, you allow yourself to become one with the present.
Meditation is about experiencing the moment as it is. You are not in the past or the future, you are not lost in your mind chatter. Instead, you are present and alert.
Contrary to what you may think, it is possible to practice good meditation when you are moving, it does not always have to be about sitting in silence.
You can actually bring meditation or mindfulness into every single aspect of your life.
I particularly love walking meditations especially with all that’s going on in the world, I’ve been finding it challenging to sit still and meditate.
Does that sound familiar?
BUT I do find that moving my body really helps me focus my mind better. So I wanted to share my tips on doing a walking meditation, so that you too can reap the benefits.
Walking meditation is actually an important part of Buddhist meditation. It can be a deeply spiritual thing to do, when done with intention but without effort.
Buddha said “My practice is the nonpractice, the attainment of nonattainment.”
In other words, just enjoy walking but walk in mindfulness. Walk and be connected with the things around you.
Walking meditation is not some robotic practice! I
It’s just walking naturally, with your mind present.
How do you do that?
Allow yourself to become one with the moment. With each step, be an observer of your surroundings. Let your passing thoughts go and be connected to the nature around you. Merge not only with the moment, but also with the Earth.
Make conscious steps. Notice the sights, scents, and sensations around you. Really see and feel what is around you.
The idea is to get into a meditative state of mind, conscious but effortlessly.
Feel the interconnectedness of life.
The results are amazing, I promise.
With each step, ground yourself into the moment.
As if saying, “I am here. My foot connects with the earth and I feel the present as it touches the ground.”
The secret of a walking meditation is that it is about the journey, not the destination. Think of it as a practice to simply enjoy the act of walking.
Enjoy each step with peace.
Walking Meditation Guide:
Try this every day for a week for at least 10-25 minutes and observe the results.
- Choose your route. Choose a route that you want to take. It’s best to do it in a quiet place that is close to nature. Find a park or a quiet route that is ideal for a walking meditation.
- Be aware of how your body feels. How are you carrying yourself? What is your posture? Just become an observer of yourself, you will feel self conscious but just take a few seconds to notice how it feels to walk like you. Can you relax your shoulders? Release a little anxiety by taking some deep breaths as you set off.
- Notice what’s going on around you. You don’t have to think about what you see or hear, just notice it. Whether it’s cars, other people, loud music, bird song, leaves, whatever it is.
- Pay attention just to the sounds you can hear. Be aware of them, don’t get all caught up in them. Just give them 30 seconds of your time.
- Now do the same for smells and physical sensations. The sunshine on your skin, the waft of flowers or cars, whatever it is. The intention here is that you acknowledge these things without getting caught up in any feelings or thoughts about them.
- The idea is that as you walk, you allow everything else around you to be there as part of a shifting landscape. Allowing things to come and go as you move, much like your thoughts that come and go as you sit in meditation.
- Now pay attention to your own body and how it moves. Bring your attention to the soles of your feet as they move. Feel each footstep as it strikes the ground. With each step, feel that connection to the present moment. Allow your breathing to be natural if possible, don’t over think any of this.
- If things catch your eye as you walk, look at them, contemplate them but don’t let go of your connection to the moment. Breath mindfully.
- As you walk, be fully aware of each footstep, be aware of the ground, and the connection between them, which is your own conscious breath.
A walking meditation is a great mind clearer, it can help you regain a sense of connection to yourself, to the earth and help you when you are feeling fearful, restless or anxious.
Give it a try and let us know how it goes!