Walking Meditation: The Benefits of Learning to Walk with Mindfulness
For many of us, walking is about getting somewhere. We’re grabbing groceries or walking to our car. Even when we walk for exercise, we’re focused on reaching a destination or a number of steps. In all of that walking, we rarely think about the act of walking. And why would we? The answer lies in the benefits of walking meditation. Walking meditation requires you to maintain awareness of each step. Believe it or not, the mindfulness of your movements can have a lasting positive impact on your overall well being.
Why Is Walking Meditation Important?
Walking meditations ask us to walk, not to anywhere or for anything, but just for the experience of walking. These meditations, also known as kinhin, are a practice in some forms of Buddhism. This practice is often performed between sessions of seated meditations, called zazen.
By elevating our awareness and learning to understand the movements of our body, we’re allowing ourselves to take in the beauty of something we normally rush through. Slowing down makes space for us to appreciate our body’s ability to hold us up, remain strong and steady, and bring us forward.
Instead of thinking about things we need to do or worries we have, walking meditation brings the focus to the body. This provides an escape from anxious thoughts, which gives the mind and spirit a chance to restore. The more often you practice walking meditations, the more you’ll benefit from the clarity, peace, and enhanced mindfulness they bring.
How to Do a Walking Meditation
The beauty of a walking meditation is that it doesn’t matter where you do it. Of course, you can go to a scenic park to get inspired by the tranquility of nature. But since the point of the exercise is to concentrate on walking rather than on your surroundings, you can perform this meditation anywhere—including at home. As long as you can walk 10 steps, even in a circle, you can do a walking meditation in your space.
Using Walking Meditation to Reduce Stress
This form of meditation is a great outlet for feelings of stress and anxiety. Sometimes it’s difficult to meditate when your mind keeps spinning off into negative directions. That’s why this form of meditation is the perfect alternative. Rather than sitting and trying to still the mind, you’re moving and directing the mind toward an action.
Walking meditations are easier for those who find that their mind is too active for seated meditation. Even though your thoughts may occasionally drift, simply use your awareness to shift your focus back to the movements. Continue walking in paces of 10 until your stress has subsided.
Are you ready to practice a walking meditation? Whether you do it often or as a way to relieve worries, this meditation method is sure to help you become more peaceful and mindful in all aspects of your life.