When you think about meditation, you may automatically picture yourself sitting down, but meditating while walking is another useful option.
Consider these benefits of walking meditation and suggestions for how to get started.
Benefits of Walking Meditation
1. Learn a popular technique. Walking meditation is a common variation that you’re likely to encounter at many retreat centers. By getting acquainted with this method, you’ll be ready to join in.
2. Get off to a good start. Beginners may find it uncomfortable to sit for long periods. Taking a stroll provides a different approach to launching a meditation practice.
3. Reduce agitation. When stress builds up, you may prefer to keep moving around. Rather than skipping a session completely, just stay on your feet.
4. Manage fatigue. It’s easy to nod off if you were up all night finishing a report or nursing a sick child. Remaining erect is likely to keep you more alert until you can get the rest you need.
5. Exercise more. Meditation can be good for your body as well as your mind. Every bit of physical activity counts when it comes to staying fit. A walking meditation of 15 minutes to an hour is a gentle, but effective, workout.
6. Integrate mindfulness into ordinary activities. One purpose of meditation is to develop a clearer mind that you can rely on all day long. When you get used to walking while meditating, you’ll become more skilled at generating positive thoughts in any setting.
How to Practice Walking Meditation
1. Create a path. Lay out a route for yourself. You could walk around your living room or visit a local park. If you stick to an area you know well, it will be easier to minimize distractions.
2. Focus on your feet. Start out by noting each step. Over time, you’ll become more aware of the many individual movements involved. Imagine that your soles are caressing the earth.
3. Pace yourself. Most people find that a slower pace is conducive to becoming more deliberate and attentive. You may want to start out walking the way you usually do and gradually ease up.
4. Lower your eyes. Try keeping your eyes half shut and softly aimed at the ground a couple of feet ahead of you. If you’re in a spot where there are too many obstacles to do this, relax and enjoy the scenery.
5. Position your arms. Lower your shoulders and let your arms hang easily along the side of your body. Clasp your hands gently in front of your lower abdomen.
6. Welcome a smile to your face. Let a smile well up from within. Visualize pleasant and soothing images like flower gardens and snowy mountains.
7. Quiet down. Leave your earphones at home. Put aside your plans for the evening. Observe the stillness in your mind.
8. Take full breaths. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Feel your abdomen rise and fall. Gradually synchronize your footsteps and your breath in whatever pattern is natural and sustainable.
9. Prepare for sitting meditation. Walking meditation is an ideal transition to a sitting meditation. A brief walking meditation session will help you clear your head and dissolve tension in your body so you can concentrate better.
10. Alternate between walking and sitting. Another good use for walking meditation is to make it a supplement to your sitting practice. If your foot gets a cramp or you just want to move around, meditating on your feet will help you extend your practice time.
Diversify your practice by meditating while walking. It will help you apply mindfulness to more of your daily routine so that you can enjoy greater peace and contentment.