What’s inside this article: A guide to walking meditation, the benefits, tips, and a step-by-step guide to practicing walking meditation for beginners.
For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when they think about meditating is someone sitting down, legs crossed, and eyes closed.
But that is only one way to practice meditation. There are many meditation forms, and you can meditate while standing, sitting, lying down, or walking.
A lot of people struggle to find the time to do all the things they want to do in a day. Walking meditation provides the benefits of both meditation and exercise. This basically gives you the opportunity to “kill two birds with one stone.”
Tips for Walking Meditation
When practicing walking meditation, the walking itself is the focus. It’s a mindful experience where you spend time noticing the sensory experience of walking.
During your walk, draw attention to things like:
- The feeling of the wind blowing on your face as you walk
- The pressure on your feet when they touch the ground and the relief as you lift them up.
- The sensations in your leg muscles – notice how they tense and relax
- The feeling of your arms swinging
- How your toes feel as they push off the ground
- The smells around you – whether in a nature setting or urban setting, what can you smell?
- The sounds around you – cards, birds chirping, the wind, other walkers, etc.
- Try walking along a beach where you can notice the sensation of the sand in your toes and your feet gliding through the shallow water.
Struggling with Meditation?
Many people struggle with meditation because they find it hard to turn off their busy minds or connect with their bodies and the experience.
This leads people to give up before they’ve really had a chance to practice. If you’ve tried meditating before but weren’t successful, you may find walking meditation more enjoyable.
Walking meditation is also great for beginners because it’s easy to learn and practice, and it’s completely fine to move in and out of your meditative state over the course of your walk. \
You don’t need to have your busy mind turned off for the entire duration.
Even if you spend most of your time just walking, the benefits of exercise still makes it worth your time.
Here’s how walking meditation works – step by step
Remember, the key to successful walking meditation is your frame of mind while you walk.
Walking meditations can be fast or slow, can be practiced with a clear mind or with the aid of music or a mantra.
It’s beneficial for those who like to stay active and may feel stressed with the silence and stillness of other meditation methods, like mindfulness meditation.
How to Do a Walking Meditation
- Get ready for your walk – comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and footwear, water, headphones if you’re using music, or a guide. If you have a specific time goal, set a timer. You can choose to walk anywhere – but many people prefer walking in nature rather than urban settings because nature is more calming.
- Start walking at a comfortable pace. Prompt yourself to notice the sensations that you feel in your body as you walk. Usually, people prefer a slow pace because it’s easier to notice the physical sensations from walking, but a fast-paced walk can work too as long as you’re comfortable.
There’s not really a wrong way to do it.
- Do your best to focus on the present. If you find other thoughts coming into your mind – your to-do lists, that argument with your partner this morning, an upcoming presentation at work – gently remind yourself to let them go. Redirect your focus to the sensations you feel as you walk.
- You can also focus on your breathing as you walk. For example, coordinate your steps with your breathing. You can try to inhale for 2-3 steps and then exhale for 2-3 steps. Make sure your breath and your pace are all comfortable.
- If you’re having trouble keeping other thoughts out of your mind – try repeating a personal mantra in your head as you walk. Here are some ideas.
- If this feels frustrating or challenging, you can work your way into meditation by listening to music. This can help you to practice focusing on what’s happening at the moment.
- Try practicing walking meditation for 30 minutes at a time, several times per week. However, if you only have 10 minutes or even 5 minutes of free time, that’s better than no practice at all. Walking meditation can be beneficial even in small doses.
- Walking meditation can help lower anxiety and reduce stress levels.
- It also enhances your emotional wellness and self-awareness.
- In addition to the benefits of meditation, walking meditation also has physical benefits
- Improves mood
- Boosts energy
- Promotes better sleep
- Weight control
- Practicing walking meditation for 30 minutes at a time, several times per week will contribute to your overall health and wellness.