Enter the world of walking meditation.
Walking meditation is moving without the urgency of getting from place to to place, but instead fully noticing the details of the steps you’re taking, your surroundings, your breath, and the way your body feels as you move.
If you’ve ever meditated or have a regular meditation practice of your own, you may already be familiar with many of the benefits, including a deeper sense of self, a calming mindset, and the ability to better let go of negative, intrusive thoughts or what I refer to often in my classes a turbulent mind.
Some of the benefits of walking meditation include:
- Allowing your mind and body to slow down and adjust the speed of your thoughts
- Connecting with nature and to the beauty around you
- Deepening your mind body connection and the ways in which your body communicates with you
- Taking a break from the mental chaos of day to day life and finding focus on what matters truly to you
- Increase your mindfulness and ability to stay present. Increase your sensory levels and become in awe of the colours and textures around you.
Through walking meditation we can better develop not only our sense of intention but our awareness as well. Each step you take involves focusing on the earth beneath you, the pressure of your foot on the ground, the feeling of the soil or surface below you, the force that flows back up through your leg and into your body as you form the kinetic energy of movement, and so on.
When we begin to notice where we are going, we allow ourselves the gift of choosing where we will move next.
So how can you begin? Where do you start? And maybe most importantly, where should you go?
While being out in nature can be prime for feeling relaxed and at ease, there are times when this might not be possible. Below, I’ve listed some creative ways to explore the realm of walking meditation that you can begin to explore for yourself.
The Five Points of Focus
For each point of focus, really attend to what you notice. Become an investigator of what you can observe about each point. Even imagine yourself a connoisseur of that focus point. Can you appreciate what you sense, and really enjoy each focus point?
- The feeling of walking in your body. Sense your feet contacting the ground, your weight shifting, your legs moving, and your arms swinging.
- The feeling of your breath. Notice how it feels to breathe in and breathe out. Notice any smells as you breathe in.
- The feeling of your body in contact with the world. Bring awareness to your face, your skin, your hands, and your whole body: do you feel warmth or coolness? Sun or a breeze? A light drizzle?
- What you can hear. Take it all in, without labelling sounds lovely (birds singing, leaves rustling) or less lovely (traffic, people shouting).
- What you can see. Allow yourself to notice things you might otherwise miss when your mind is so distracted with worries and fantasies.
Practice whenever you need to recharge, refresh, or reboot!