What Is Walking Meditation? 5 Tips to Get Started

A crucial goal of meditation is to quiet the mind.

But what if you spend hours each day sitting at your desk, and you can’t imagine taking even more time just to sit still? What if, after a long commute, seated meditation simply doesn’t appeal to you?

Fortunately, you aren’t limited to seated meditation. Walking meditation is an increasingly popular alternative.

How does walking meditation work?

Also known as mindful walking, walking meditation involves moving slowly and steadily in your environment. It’s a simple form of meditation that incorporates physical activity and entails directing and responding to the movements of your body.

In this way of meditating, the very act of moving is essential. Rather than walking to a specific destination or to achieve a particular goal, practitioners strive to focus on the present. Most choose a specific lane composed of 10 to 20 paces in one direction, and then 10 to 20 paces back—over and over until the session is complete.1

By adding just 10 minutes of walking meditation to your daily routine, you can enjoy a greater sense of calm, improved psychological balance, and better overall health.2

Paired with the benefits of walking—which include a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as enhanced cardiovascular health—this form of meditation is a multifaceted approach to strengthen your wellbeing.3

How can I get started with walking meditation?

Allowing the mind time to rest will help it function more smoothly. To get started with walking meditation, wear comfortable clothes and shoes and begin your practice with an open mind. In addition, consider the five following tips:

  1. Set yourself up for success.
  2. Aiming to log 30 minutes of walking meditation, five days per week, is all well and good—but chances are you want to build up to a regular, dependable practice. As such, consider setting incremental goals that are more achievable, and work slowly toward making your practice a habit. Start with just five minutes of walking meditation a few times a week, and add an additional five minutes each week until you find your stride.
  1. Choose an appealing location.
  2. To improve your focus and enjoy a greater sense of balance, you will want to practice walking meditation in an ideal location. A crowded city street, no matter how invigorating, won’t offer the same benefits as a quiet path where you can walk formally and peacefully in your lane for many paces at a time. Above all, aim to find a place where you won’t be disturbed. Even an indoor location like an office hallway is a great place to start, so long as you can walk undisrupted.
  1. Start with a standing meditation.
  2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees gently bent. Take long, deep breaths in and out through the nose, filling your lungs with every inhalation. Release the stressors in your life, erase your to-do list from your mind, and complete a scan of your entire body. Take note of how you feel, embrace each sensation, and simply make observations during your short standing session. Carry this mindset with you when you kick off the walking component of your practice.
  1. Focus on each step.
  2. Walking meditation involves being fully present in the moment and immersing yourself in every step you take. This means you aren’t walking to admire your surroundings, but to fine-tune your focus and quiet the mind. To do this, keep your eyes soft, gaze directly in front of you, and maintain a brisk but comfortable pace. Bend your elbows and allow your arms to swing naturally. The more you practice, the less stiff you’ll be—and the better equipped you’ll be to focus on each step.
  1. Release distractions.
  2. Even in meditation, distractions are inevitable. Pay attention to every thought, feeling, and sensation that you experience. Acknowledge both the internal and external stimuli you face. And then, release these distractions. Perhaps you trip over a small object in your lane, or your breathing is especially heavy during one session. That is perfectly okay. Simply nourish the energy of your environment and continue on your path.  

Walking meditation is designed to restore a sense of calm. When it’s time to end your session, pause and stand still before calling it a day. Take a few deep breaths, and then dive back into your routine.

Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team

References:

  1. The Greater Good Science Center Staff. Walking Meditation.  UC Berkeley. https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/walking_meditation. Accessed December 10, 2018.
  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Staff. Meditation: In-Depth. NIH. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm.Accessed December 10, 2018.
  3. Dreyer D et al. Walking as Meditation: Quiet Your Mind as You Improve Your Health. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/walking-meditation_b_1790035. Accessed Dec 7, 2018.

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