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What is Walking Meditation? Ways to practice mindfulness.

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Walking Meditation: Meditation in Motion

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Walking meditation is an active practice which helps you be more mindful because it requires that you, as the participant, be consciously aware and moving in your environment. This means walking with the awareness of every step, breath, thought, and emotion. This practice not only allows you to enjoy the pleasure of walking, but also to be aware of your movement and surroundings. Walking meditation tends to be much less overwhelming for individuals who are just beginning their experience with meditation since walking is part of our daily lives. You are able to use the activity of simply walking as your main focus. This action helps you become more aware of your body.

Walking meditation has a long tradition within Buddhist practice as a way of developing mindfulness. It can also be used as part of mindfulness training to help with the reduction of stress, increase awareness, improve focus, and contribute to a range of mental and physical health benefits. [1][2][3]

The essence of walking meditation practice is to use the sensations which arise in the feet as you walk slowly, as a place to focus your attention. It’s very similar to the way focusing on your breath is often used in sitting meditation practice. This moment-by-moment attention to the sensations to the present moment allows awareness to become more stable and offers a place to return to when we notice that our mind starts to wonder. 

Woman is practicing walking meditation technique along the beach and sea with the dog

The Benefits of Walking Meditation

Focus and consistency of awareness

Walking meditation can help you slow down racing thoughts and aid in shutting out many of life’s distractions, allowing you more time to focus only on your steps and thoughts in the present moment. This, in turn, helps you be more mindful in all aspects of your life. 

Better familiarity with the patterns of your mind

Walking meditation requires a certain level of mindfulness. Being aware of your steps leads to being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which in turn allows you to learn more about yourself and the world around you, without judgment, fantasy or projection. If your mind tends to wander and jumps from one thought to another, walking meditation may help you be more in control of your thoughts.  By taking a walk,  your mind experiences calming experiences similar to conventional meditation. 

Opportunity to practice mindfulness

It goes without saying that walking meditation is an excellent way to practice mindfulness. When you just walk and focus on the steps that you take, and accept the natural world around you, you are training your mind to be in the present moment. Basically, walking becomes a tool to familiarize yourself with the present moment and consistent practice of walking meditation can help keep you in the present moment.

Awareness of the physical sensations of the body

Walking meditation is obviously more than just aimlessly strolling round the forest or your local park. Walking meditation is all about training the mind to be as mindful as possible. This practice is all about being aware of your body and physical sensations as you move.

The Bottom Line

Research indicates that the combination of meditating and walking has a potential to benefit not only our physical health, but also our mental heals and overall well-being. Walking meditation has documented benefits, like lowering stress, reducing anxiety, improving sleep, in addition to increasing focus and concentration.[3]

Walking meditation can calm you down in order to help you get to know your body. It helps you connect with nature and helps you in your everyday mindfulness practice. Most importantly, it helps you stay in the present moment.

How to practice it?

You can practice walking meditation alone, with another person or a group of people, this way, walking meditation can make this exercise more enjoyable. Just place one foot in front of the other, slowly and in silence. You can create joy with each step as there is no rush, no place to get to, no hurry.

There is no hurry, no place to urgently get to, no rush. Just you and present moment! 

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