Walk Your Way to Mindfulness: The Art of Walking Meditation
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and burned out by the hustle and bustle of daily life, I understand how you feel. The good news is that you don’t have to feel this way forever. As someone who has felt the benefits of walking meditation firsthand, I can say without a doubt that this exercise can help you find calm with the added bonus of not having to sit still and concentrate.
If you’re looking for a way to calm down, and reduce your anxiety this exercise is just what you need. But is it okay to meditate while walking? Walking meditation has been done for thousands of years and is a unique way to practice mindfulness while also getting some exercise. In fact, many people find that walking meditation is even more effective than a seated meditation practice for quieting the mind and reducing stress.
Read on to learn the benefits, how to prepare, how to begin, and how to overcome common obstacles. We will also discuss how to incorporate this technique into your daily routine.
What Is Walking Meditation?
Walking meditation is a form of mindfulness where you focus on being conscious and fully aware of the present moment while walking. It involves paying attention to your surroundings and the sensations you feel as you move.
As we go about our daily lives, we often forget to take a moment to slow down and simply be present. This technique can help us be more aware and focused in our everyday lives.
Benefits of Walking Meditation
When it comes to improving your mental, physical, and emotional health, this exercise has many good things to offer.
Relieve Stress & Anxiety: Studies have shown mindful walking reduces stress and anxiety. by allowing you to slow down and focus on the present moment. When we walk, our mind becomes focused on the present moment, and we’re better able to let go of worries and anxieties. The rhythmic movement of walking, combined with deep breathing, can also promote relaxation and reduce tension.
Improve Heart Health: Improve your cardiovascular health, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. Walking is a low-impact exercise that can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Better Quality Sleep: Improve the quality of your sleep by promoting relaxation, and reducing stress. It’s been shown to increase the production of serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood and sleep.
Improved Focus & Concentration: Improve your focus and concentration by training your mind to be more present and attentive. It can increase awareness, leading to improved cognitive function.
Grounding & Connecting With Nature: Feel more grounded and connected with nature by encouraging you to pay attention to your surroundings. It allows us to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings and experience a sense of calm and peace.
Improve Digestion: Improve digestion by increasing physical activity, promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels that can interfere with proper digestion. Walking after a meal can also aid in digestion by promoting movement in the digestive system.
Overall Improved Wellness: Strengthens bones, improves muscle endurance, and helps to maintain a healthy weight by providing a low-impact form of exercise. Using this exercise regularly can help to improve your physical health and wellness. It’s a gentle and accessible way to improve physical fitness and maintain overall health.
Types of Walking Meditation
There are many styles and forms of mindful walking, each with its unique benefits. Here are some of the most popular types:
Zen Walking Meditation
Also known as kinhin. This exercise is commonly associated with Zen Buddhism. It involves traveling in a circle around a room with other practitioners, usually between periods of longer sitting meditation. The focus is on moving slowly and carefully, paying attention to every aspect of the movement.
Daoist Walking Meditation
A gentle, slow, and continuous exercise that emphasizes, balance and harmony in physical and mental connection. Practitioners walk in a relaxed and natural way, feeling the sensation of the feet on the ground, the rhythm of the breath, and your movement. There are many methods and techniques used including visualization.
Thich Nhat Hanh Walking Meditation
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen master who has popularized a simple, yet powerful technique. It involves taking slow, deliberate steps, while breathing in and saying “I have arrived,” and breathing out and saying “I am home.”
You can try it with a guided audio, or on your own. The mantras are taken from a waking meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh. The full poem is below:
I have arrived. I am home.
In the here. In the now.
I am solid. I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.
Theravada Walking Meditation
Also known as chaṅkama. This is a tradition that comes from Theravada Buddhism. This technique focuses on building concentration and focus. Practitioners walk back and forth along a straight path, focusing on the movement of the feet and the sensations they feel, and maintaining focus throughout. It’s often used as a complement to sitting meditation.