Meditation is not always about being still. Did you know that there is meditation in motion? Walking meditation could be a great alternative to you if you don't want to meditate while sitting still.
Walking Meditation Explained
Walking meditation is one of the best ways to take care of our bodies. It is not just an ordinary walk, for we are trained to be as mindful as possible. Its' goal is to concentrate on breathing in which inhaling and exhaling should be coordinated with every step you take as you walk. It allows our awareness of our body and physical sensations to be involved as we walk to find a sense of harmony and peace. According to Thich Nhat Hanh, a pioneer in teaching mindfulness, the practice of mindful walking deepens the connection of our body and the earth.
Like normal walking, it also has a lot of benefits. Physically, it promotes blood flow, improves digestion, and improves balance and coordination. While mentally, it improves mood, fights anxiety, enhances overall feelings of well-being, promotes sleep quality, and stimulates creativity.
We can apply it to our everyday life anytime, even in an informal way when shopping or walking, going to and from work. And the more we do it, the more your mindfulness increases.
How to Do It
1. Find a suitable place
Look for a relatively quiet and peaceful environment. It can be inside or outside in nature as long as there are no distractions, and you are able to walk back and forth for at least 10 to 15 paces. Practicing indoors is a good option, for you can concentrate directly on mindfulness with fewer distractions from your surroundings. If you are in public areas, look for a place where there is no high-traffic and not densely populated. It's also important to consider your safety.
2. Getting started and walking
After choosing an ideal place, spend a minute on breathing deeply, anchoring your full attention to your body. Feel how stable the ground is under your feet and the different sensations within your body. Consider also your thoughts and feelings.
Start walking slowly, taking 10 to 15 steps in one direction, then pause and breathe for as long as you want. Turn and take 10 to 15 steps back in the opposite direction. Pause and breathe again and walk back. Continue doing this for at least 10 minutes.
3. Maintaining mindfulness as you walk
As you meditate, varying physical and emotional sensations will manifest. Positive, neutral, and negative feelings, thoughts, and moods are possible during this time. Bring your focus back to your breathing and walking technique. Walk naturally and go with the flow.
4. Hands and arms.
Hold your hands behind your back or clasp in front of you, or you can allow your hands and arms to swing loosely by your sides, whatever feels most comfortable and natural to you.
5. Pace yourself.
You can walk at any speed, but slow and steady small steps are better. You should feel natural and comfortable, not to a point where you feel out of breathe. Try to discover the pace that works best for you each time you meditate. It may be a bit difficult at first, but with practice, you'll surely master it. Keep in mind that walking meditation is to connect your body and mind and not to have a good workout.
Now that we know how to do walking meditation, it's time for us to condition both your body and mind and enjoy the benefits. Let this be a part of your weekly routine, for it is very peaceful and pleasing.