How to do a simple Mindful Walking Meditation
Do you want to add variety to your meditation practice? Are you finding a sitting meditation too uncomfortable? Do you need to stretch your legs after sitting down at a desk? Do you want to get out into some fresh air? Then consider giving mindful walking meditation a go.
What is a Mindful Walking Meditation?
The aim as with all mindful practice is to bring and maintain your focus on the present, not to dwell on the past or the future and to tame your mind from constant distractions. It’s about being aware of what’s going on inside us and around us.
Mindful walking meditation is a meditation in action where you use the experience of walking as your focus. You still receive all the benefits of a traditional sitting meditation.
It can be practiced anywhere. Whether that’s by yourself in nature or surrounded by other’s in the city. You could walk in a park, on the beach or simply just around your neighborhood.
Three steps of Mindful Walking Meditation
There are several forms of walking meditation but this article covers a non religious form of mindful walking meditation that brings you into the present moment, enlivens your body and awakens your senses.
Step 1 – Bring your mind into the present
Wear comfortable clothing and begin walking at a natural pace for you.
Notice your feet stepping left-right-left-right. Keep your focus on each step and use this to bring your mind into the present moment.
Step 2 – Body Scan to enliven your body
Once you have bought your mind into the present moment, slowly start to scan your body from the sole of your feet to the top of your head.
Notice how the different parts of your body feel. How do your feet feel as they touch the ground and then as you lift them to take another step forward? Let your awareness move further up your body. From your feet, move your focus onto your ankles, knees, thighs, hips, pelvis, abdomen, back, chest, shoulders, arms, neck and head.
If you become aware of any tension in the body, let it go – relax.
Step 3 – Take in your surroundings and enhance your senses
It’s now time to expand your focus to the environment around you and to enhance your senses.
Take it in turn to focus on seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting.
What do you see? Notice and appreciate the sky, the grass, the trees. Notice three things you haven’t noticed before.
What do you hear? Birds singing, waves crashing, leaves rustling, music or people around you.
Notice smells. Can you smell flowers, dry or damp earth, the sea or urban smells.
Turn your focus to the taste. Maybe the air around you has a taste. For example, the salty air by the sea.
How does the sun feel on your skin or the wind in your hair? If you are barefooted you’ll notice the feel of the earth beneath you.
Keep walking, noticing, admiring and appreciating the beauty around you.
Note, as with all meditation your mind will wander and that’s normal. When you notice your mind doing this, simply bring it back to focusing on walking.
You can walk for as long as you want from 5 minutes to 20 minutes or longer and when you are ready to end come to a gentle stop.
A mindful walking meditation has all the benefits of a sitting meditation plus the benefits of walking. (You can refer to this article for the science backed benefits of meditation.) You don’t have to be athletic, you don’t need any special equipment (other than comfortable clothing) and you can do it anywhere for as long as you like.
It’s a great way of combining meditation with movement. It will bring your mind into the present moment and help you connect with and show appreciation of your body and your surroundings.
I encourage you to give this simple mindful walking meditation a go. Feel free to share your thoughts below.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“Walking outside in the fresh air is better than trudging around in your brain!” Unknown
“Every path, every street in the world is your walking meditation path.” -Thich Nhat Hanh