Today I would like to talk about Walking Meditation, explain what it is all about, go through the benefits and suggest a simple but very effective exercise that, if done daily, I can assure you, it will bring you a big improvement in the quality of your life, both mentally and physically and it can also help a lot to empower our happiness.
I personally discovered Walking Meditation, quite a few years ago and ever since I practice it daily and really enjoy it a lot and to me is the easiest of all Meditations. Having discovered walking meditation it has also changed my way of walking and standing. Basically it has taken away the tension in my legs and feet. I have always been a nervous person, not anymore and even standing for a while, it was very tiring for me. Why? Simply because I was assuming a wrong posture and my lower body was pretty tense.
The first time I heard about Walking Meditation, it was not long before I had started practicing Meditation.
I remember at that time I went to my first class of Tai-Chi and a guy who was attending his first class as well, mentioned Walking Meditation. Since it was the first time I had heard about it, I tried to imagine in my mind what it was and I ended up creating a quite funny vision of a man, Yoga guru style, that was walking in a kind of trance, something between sleeping walking and fire walking…. I remember that I smiled (I would probably have laughed if it wasn’t for the people near me) and instantly made the decision that I wanted to discover what it was.
Here I am now, sharing it with you, with the hope I can motivate you enough that you might try and enjoy it and that walking meditation can become part of your life.
What is Walking Meditation?
Let’s start reminding ourselves that the main point about Meditation is an active process to focus on a single point, so we can keep our mind calm and not distracted by all our thoughts that come and go all the times. If you don’t know a lot about Meditation, I suggest you to read also one of my other posts: “Why is meditation so important and why it can help us to feel happier?
Now what is walking meditation?
Basically Walking meditation is practicing meditation while walking, our focus is on walking itself, we are aware of each movement we do and we are not walking in order to arrive somewhere.
Walking meditation is enjoying the walking, be in the present moment, the only moment we are alive.
How many times we walk from one place to another, without even thinking about the movement of our legs or our feet? Probably every time we walk, because it’s something we do automatically and we don’t need to think about it. Walking meditation is also the same concept for conscious breathing which I talked about it in one of my previous posts.
The purpose of walking meditation is walking itself. Going is important, not arriving.
It is not difficult, everybody can do it.
When we do walking meditation, we need to be aware of what we are doing, which is also the principle of mindfulness.
In this meditation method, we will be able to acquire not just the basic knowledge about walking meditation, but also we will get an extreme power to uplift ourselves.
Walking Meditation Benefits
Walking Meditation can bring us joy and peace while we practice it. All our worries can drop away while we are walking simply because we focus our attention on walking.
Walking meditation is usually understood as primarily intended to relieve stress in the legs. Composing the body helps to compose the mind.
Here are the benefits that walking meditation develops:
- endurance for walking long distances
- develop our physical fitness and endurance
- it is good for striving
- it can help relieve arthritis
- it helps live in the present moment and heightens awareness
- it helps reach peace of mind, because it gives the mind a focus and therefore a break from what can be a destructive obsession with our problems
- it is good for the digestion after a meal and reduce drowsiness after eating
- the concentration gained from walking meditation lasts a long time
Now that we went through what is Walking Meditation and his benefits, let’s see a simple 5 minutes exercise that, as I said before, can really make a big difference in our daily life, improving our health, lifting our spirit and therefore help us to live a happy life.
A 5 Minutes Walking Meditation Exercise
Ideally it would be nice to find a tranquil place in the nature, a place with not many people around and no distractions. (In the picture here is my best place for Walking Meditation, a simple country side path under the trees that can help me to regenerate myself.)
If you find it difficult to find a place like that, don’t worry, because walking meditation can be done every where, even when we are walking to get the train or buy some groceries, etc but I will talk about it later.
So why did I mention a tranquil green place in the first place? Simply because it is more beneficial for the air we breath and because is more likely we don’t get distracted by the surrounding.
Now, what do we need to do when practicing Walking Meditation?
Here are my suggestions to follow:
1 # First of all, we need to realize that this 5 minutes walking meditation exercise is the time we want to dedicate to ourselves. In my previous post “Loving ourselves and having a High self-esteem can help us to be happier” I have mentioned the importance to dedicate time to ourselves, to look after our body and mind.
We must have the intention to forget anything else in our life, both good or bad things.
2 # I suggest wearing comfortable clothes and most importantly comfortable shoes.
3 # We need to choose the place, possibly in the nature, like a park or a garden with not many people or distractions around.
4 # Having chosen our place, we need to decide mentally our starting point and our end point.
5 # Before we start walking, we need to take few moments and concentrate on what we are going to do. It’s called Self Talk, even a simple phrase like “Now I am going to practice a 5-minute walking meditation exercise” can help us to be aware of our action.
6 # We can also spend a few seconds, concentrating on our legs and our feet, feeling they are touching the ground. In the summertime, I like walking barefoot, feeling the grass under my feet. It helps me feel more grounded.
7 # Before we start walking, we need to keep in our mind, that we are not going to walk fast, but we need to take short steps in complete relaxation; go slowly with a smile on our lips.
8 # When we start walking we need to be aware of each move and feel the contact between our feet and the earth.
9 # We need to walk straight ahead, be calm and in comfort.
10 # We need to keep our neck and shoulder relaxed and also our stomach muscles.
11 # When walking we can observe the nature around us.
12 # It’s also important to pay attention to our feelings.
13 # Once we start walking, one way to keep our focus is to coordinate our breathing with our steps.
Let me explain it better. We can start counting our steps while we are breathing in, and also counting the steps we do, while we are breathing out.
It’s very important not to force our breathing, our breathing must be natural. With practice, we will realize that the number of our steps for each breath will increase slowly slowly.
14 # I suggest also to drink some water before we start and after we finish our walking meditation.
15 # When we finish our walking meditation, it’s also important to be thankful for the experience. Remember appreciate simple things can definitely help us to feel happier.
I personally try to practice walking meditation all the time, it doesn’t matter where I am, I just concentrate on my walking and as I mentioned before, I coordinate my breathing with my walking and I focus my attention on counting my steps. It helps me a lot to calm down, I feel more grounded and it helps me to control my thoughts and emotions.
Now if you have found Walking Meditation interesting, you need to take action, don’t procrastinate, try straight away! and let me know in the comments below how it went.
Wish You all a Beautiful Day!
You might also like to read:
- Zen12, a simple audio meditation program that meditates for you.
- Why is meditation so important and why it can help us to feel happier?
- 5 FREE Guided Meditations