Meditation doesn’t require anything special, and you can even do it while completing mundane tasks. However, when you walk, the possibilities of meditating and mindfulness increase since walking does not require you to concentrate since it is second nature to everyone.
Understanding Walking Meditation
Walking meditation is not necessarily practiced outside and is something you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. As you work your paces, the requirement is for you to focus on the connection between your mind and body. Its beauty is that you don’t only determine your walking pace (slow is best with small steps) but also the length of your walking session. What you need to do is to focus on your movement and the physical sensations of every step.
One popular form of walking meditation is kinhin meditation (widely practiced in Buddhism), where you alternate between walking and sitting meditation.
Getting Started with Walking Meditation
The best reason to participate in walking meditation is that you need your legs and mindfulness. No specific location or equipment is required. Follow the four easy steps, and get started today.
1. Choose your safe walking space
If your surroundings distract you easily, prefer an indoor space. Otherwise, look for a safe area outside that is peaceful and with as few distractions as possible. For example, look for a flat space so that you don’t need to look down all the time for fear of stumbling. Also, you don’t want others to keep bumping into you as you reach a level of mindfulness, so stay away from crowds.
2. Begin your paces
Start by moving slower than your regular pace for about 20 steps in a straight line. As you place one foot in front of the other, use a rhythmic motion and place your steps down deliberately. Maintain an upright position and walk with poise. Feel the stability of the ground beneath your feet and the sensations within you. Focus on your mind rather than your breathing. Keeping the same slow pace, turn back and repeat these 20 steps.
Focus on every step, like lifting your foot, moving it forward, placing it down with your heel first, and shifting your weight forward as you prepare to take the next step with your back foot. Your hands can be anywhere comfortable, e.g., swinging by your side, behind your back, or in front of you. Ensure that your movements are comfortable and relaxed and keep your muscles relaxed.
3. Remain mindful
Walk for at least 10 minutes daily, but always remain mindful of your steps, even when turning around or corner. If you are distracted or your mind begins to wander, concentrate on each step and breathe.
4. Make a habit of walking meditation
It may take some time to get used to walking meditation, but practice makes it easier once you incorporate it into your daily mindfulness routine will prove beneficial quickly.
How Walking Calms Your Mind
Walking meditation has several physical and mental benefits. You will notice several improvements in your sleep quality, awareness, mental clarity, and mind-body connection as you practice it.
As you practice walking meditation, your mind reflects on the present because it continuously needs to keep your attention inward to help move your body and stop your mind from wandering. As a result, it improves your concentration and awareness of your mental state.
Walking meditation improves your sleep quality because it helps fight anxiety, stress, and depression—the three leading causes of insomnia. In addition, as you walk at this slow pace in a state of meditation, your heart rate reduces, blood pressure decreases, and the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) increases.
If you constantly find it difficult to take a moment during your busy day for yourself, walking meditation allows 10-15 minutes to slow down and compose your thoughts. During this time, you can focus just on your spiritual needs.
Grow Your Mind-Body Connection
As you focus on the physical sensation of your slow pace, you pay attention to all the physical feelings of walking. These include the swing of your arms, posture, and movement of each step. As you focus, you get the chance to register your physical state.
Walking meditation is a beautiful form of mindfulness that helps you gain control over your thoughts and feelings. There are several ways to practice it, like with the Headspace App, but you can also do it alone. It enables you to rid yourself of negative emotions and thoughts, allowing you to take charge of any situations requiring your actions constructively.