I absolutely love Walking Meditation. Just by practicing it, we’re able to meditate, exercise, and enjoy being in nature all at the same time. How amazing is that?
Walking Meditation is a great alternative for those who find it challenging to keep up with practicing regular seated meditation. Maybe you’re someone who has tried to meditate before, but you find yourself falling asleep too often. Or maybe you get bored easily and find it difficult to sit in silence for a long stretch of time. You’re not alone on this one. Given our culture’s decreasing attention spans, many find it a challenge to do something as simple as sitting still and following the breath.
This is why I usually recommend that beginning meditators start out by practicing Walking Meditation. It’s just as effective as regular meditation, and gives you an opportunity to indulge in the healing and calming effects of nature. And even if you already practice meditation regularly, Walking Meditation is a great practice to add to your repertoire.
To practice Walking Meditation, you don’t need anything fancy. You can be out on a trail, in a park, in the woods, or just out in your own neighborhood. Here are some tips to get you started…
Don’t look at electronic devices while you walk
When you start practicing Walking Meditation, you might be tempted to text, make phone calls, play some music, or listen to a podcast. But all of those things defeat the purpose of Walking Meditation. In order to be completely present, don’t let electronic devices distract you. Put away your phone, so that you can be completely open and available to the present moment. Texts, phone calls, music, and podcasts can all wait.
Relax your body
During the first minute or two of your walk, make a conscious effort to relax your body. Make sure all the muscles in your body are relaxed. Let any tension go, so that you can fully be in the moment. Stay connected to your breath, following your inhale all the way down into your body and your exhale all the way out. This will prepare you to more deeply connect to the moment and all of the nature around you.
Surrender to your senses
Immerse yourself in your five senses, and allow them all to fully experience what’s happening around you. Be deeply present. When you’re looking a tree, study the leaves, the branches, the way it extends up toward the sky. Really take it in. Breathe in the smells of nature and notice how it makes you feel. Listen to the sounds of the birds as if they were the only thing that matters in that moment. If any thoughts come up in your mind, nudge yourself back into the moment by coming back to your senses. Allow your senses to guide you and to open you up to all the beauty around you.
Feel your body
How often do we take the time each day to pay attention to what’s happening with our bodies? Practicing Walking Meditation is an opportunity to do that. Notice the way your arms might be swinging at your sides. Feel each foot as it touches the ground. Notice the wind blowing against your face. Feel the sensations coming into your body as you interact and appreciate nature.
Finally: Don’t rush. Take your time with the walk. Understand that there’s no other place you need to be but here. Slowing your pace will give you more of an opportunity to take it all in.
Try to practice Walking Meditation for at least 20 minutes, if you can! If you need to start with less time, that’s fine too. The most important thing is to get out there and start. Have a great Walking Meditation!