As you walk about during your day, you can easily include a walking meditation to still your mind and keep calm. You may have numerous chances to do this – so rather than rushing around, slow down!
When can you do a walking meditation?
- As you walk from your car to your workplace
- While you walk your dog
- As you walk around the shops
- Whilst walking around any room in your house or office
- While walking from a meeting to your desk
- Every time you visit the loo
How do you do a walking meditation?
It’s all about your intention. Instead of rushing head first on auto-pilot, this is your chance to walk slowly and gather in your scattered thoughts onto your walking.
Focus on the movement of your feet and legs.
Be aware of your feet as they connect with the ground.
Notice your posture and straighten your spine.
Relax your shoulders.
Adjust your chin so it’s not jutting out with tension.
Notice any tension in your neck.
Stay calm and be aware of any other areas of tension in your body.
Soften your face with a smile – especially nice to do if you’re walking past colleagues or even strangers!
These simple walking meditations can make a whole lot of difference to your day. They allow you some delicious moments of peace while surrounded by busyness!
Other ways to do a walking meditation
Japanese Zen Buddhist walking meditation
This is also known as ‘Kinhin’ which means walking straight like the vertical thread in a cloth. One version involves you choosing a quiet space where you can walk between 10-30 steps.
This creates your walking path upon which you return and keep following back and forth.
This concentrated practice invites you to focus on your posture, breath and emotions. Same basics as sitting to meditate but in this case you can still your mind with movement.
Pay particular attention to your body as you:
- Lift the heel, sole, toes of each foot
- Place the heel, sole, toes down
- Note the calf muscles, knee, thigh
- Keep your body balanced
- Notice your shoulders and whether you are stooping
- Focus more fully on your breath
- Choose to count your steps
- Continue by combining your breath with each step
This can be a handy practice when you want to find some quiet respite yet don’t feel like sitting still, or don’t have time!
Thich Nhat Hanh encourages you to walk slowly and peacefully.
‘Not in order to arrive, but just to walk.’
This might be the kind of walk you take at the weekend. Grab a backpack, some water and sunscreen. Nature is the best for walking and you can bring all your senses to the experience.
You can also add a mantra as you walk. It’s a phrase which you repeat. Something like:
I walk with peace and serenity in my heart as my feet kiss the earth with gratitude.
It’s especially good to do if you find that you are walking but your mind is elsewhere. It’s a great way to focus back on being present and enjoy your walk!
Walk for your life
The benefits of walking are numerous and well-known. When you focus mindfully on walking, you invite your brain to move away from life’s distractions!
You become aware of the tension in your body, and your walking meditation helps you relax. Your body’s parasympathetic nervous system elicits this relaxation process.
Mindful movement helps keep your blood pressure and heart beat regular.
Judith Tebbutt wrote ‘A Long Walk Home’ about her capture by Somali pirates. She said, ‘walking helped me organise my thoughts.’ She counted her paces and walked every day of her 6-month captivity. Her walking contributed to her survival!
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide