Who would have thought that WALKING can be quite meditative? Yes, it is actually true – because everything we do can be used as meditation if we bring awareness and attention to it. Really tuning into what is happening in the moment without any distraction helps to be fully present.
Walking meditation comes with some ease, we do it anyhow, we don’t have to add anything at all. We walk and breathe. In the context of mindfulness, we do it in a particular way. And the good thing is we can meditate so very often without any additional or extra time. Every walk can be an opportunity to meditate.
Most of the time, we walk from A to be, there is place we want to get to and we just walk with there without any noticing, well most of the time. We walk on autopilot whilst our mind is very often occupied with thoughts and worries.
Walking meditation invites us to pay attention in a particular way, in the now and by noticing the act of walking itself. When focusing on the experience of walking, the embodiment of walking we are no longer lost in automaticity, ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.
Walking meditation offers us to turn attention inwards, connecting with our body when things are getting frantic. Bringing attention inside leads to inner calm and clarity which leads to greater quality of this very moment.
It can be quite liberating, letting go of past and future, whilst simply focusing on every step we take – and it is the walk itself, not the finish line we are aware of. Don’t have to get anywhere, we are already here. Every step taken with intention helps quietening the mind. Inner peace, clarity and stability can be experienced when we deliberately pay attention to this one step, the next step and the next step.
Mindfulness, walking and breathing in awareness and if possible a smile on your face. That is it. How do we do a walking meditation?
Mindfulness is the key for being aware of walking, breathing and smiling. Mindfulness offers awareness in this very moment with an attitude of non-judgment and a beginner’s mind.
Participants find below suggestions very helpful when they at the start of their practice:
- Take a few steps at home – that may help feeling a bit safer and might be easier to focus; once your attention can stay for longer go for a walk in nature and later focus on walking wherever you are; start slowly
- Start with a few steps – no marathon needed
- Pace doesn’t matter – start slowly, but not too slow that you fall over
- Morning practice is always recommended – a nice way to start the day – it helps setting an intention for the day
- Take your shoes off and connect with earth – feel the support and groundedness
- Walk like a king (that’s what Thich Nhat Hanh said) – with dignity and uprightness
- Walking meditation can be done everywhere, between meetings, from the car park to the office, from the garage to the house, when shopping etc
Be aware of the breath when walking. Maybe bring some playfulness to the experience of walking and count the steps with every inbreath and outbreath. Experiment and tune in with the rhythm of breathing and walking.
And here is a guided standing and walking practice.