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How to Practice Walking Meditation


By Nicole Sciacca

Movement has always come naturally for me. I love it so much that I’ve made a career around movement in all forms. It turns out humans are not only built to walk, our genome depends upon it. Our ancestors covered great distances, told stories, mapped weather patterns, observed plant life, and got plenty of sunlight all by walking. A walking meditation is one of the most profound and accessible activities available to us, and the benefits are endless. 

The physical benefits include improved immune function, strengthening bones and muscles, walking increases your body's access to vitamin D, and can help reduce heart disease. The mental benefits include improving your mood, sparking creativity and joy, reducing stress levels, and easing anxiousness. We are made of “nature stuff”... the energy and life force that lives within us is present all around us as well. In a fast paced, high-tech world, it is our responsibility to stay connected to the rhythms of nature, and move with them mindfully. 

We Are All Lunar Beings

Similar to the way seasons change, the moon’s lunar cycle changes as well. We respond to these cycles in subtle ways. For example, there is a possibility that humans are more physically efficient during full or new moons. Likewise, the moon is known to influence ocean tides—and considering the human body is 60% water, it stands to reason that the moon’s influence could affect us as well. There are studies to support that the moon has an influence over our production of melatonin which would influence our sleep-wake cycles. 

Evening walks are ideal during the first quarter or third quarter moon phase. Plan your mindful walks during the new and full moon phases for the early mornings. The moon calendar in our Lunarly subscription box helps keep track of each phase.

One Foot in Front of the Other

A walking meditation takes place at a much slower pace than if you were trying to work up a sweat. Take it slowly and start with 20 minutes per day. Before you begin, take 3 breaths in and focus on your exhalation. Elongate the exhales as much as you can and then once you begin walking, allow your breathing to be organic and natural. 

Step 1: Give notice

Let your hearing become “spherical,” as if you could hear all the sounds in front, behind, and beside you. Allow your eyes to soften so that your other senses can also become a player in the experience. Feel the breeze on your skin or the temperature in the air. Notice the breath moving into your nostrils. 

Step 2: Feel from your feet

Try to feel the ground beneath your feet, and if possible, a barefoot walk is a wonderful way to ground yourself with the earth’s rhythm and energy. Walk for at least 10 minutes and continuously bring focus to the sounds, smells, sensations all around you. 

Step 3: Move with the stillness

Hold an emotional state of appreciation as you take in the sights and sounds. The silence becomes a meditation on its own. If your mind jumps back to your to-do lists, notice that. Acknowledge without judgment that you experienced distraction, then come back to the sights, sounds and feelings of the ground under your feet. 

Walking Meditation in a Group Setting 

If you’re walking with a group, begin the same way. Slowly notice your breathing and elongate both inhales and exhales for a few rounds. This rhythmic breathing is organic and a wonderful way to strengthen your lungs and heart while enjoying the many benefits of walking together, mindfully. 

When walking in a group you stroll silently or lead a conversation. A topic that I use for my group “Walk n Talks” is gratitude. We each take turns speaking about what we are grateful for about each other (this works well among friends or as a family). As we hear these words and feel this emotion, neurotransmitters and neurohormones change and shift to elevate our moods and lift our spirits. A group walk is a powerful and transformative activity that feels great and keeps us healthy long term.

Nicole Sciacca is the founder of Hustle & Flow and was the 2020 Chief Yoga Officer of Playlist, a yoga studio in West Hollywood. Nicole contributes to ESPNW and uses her vast movement experience training A-list celebs and elite athletes to help everyone learn to live confidently in their skin.