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Walking Meditation is One of the Best Things You Can Do

Walking meditation

Walking meditation is wonderful. For anyone who’s having trouble fitting meditation into their hectic schedule, it can be a game-changer. It’s a great mindfulness practice for restless beginners. At the same, it can be a lifelong meditation journey. On top of that, walking meditation is great for chakra wellness and general auric hygiene.

What is Walking Meditation?

Walking meditation is a mindfulness practice with historic roots all across Asia. It is also known as kinhin, or mindful walking. It uses walking as its focal point. This makes it different from other kinds of meditation, which primarily focus on the breath. It also makes it easier for many people, as they can continue to breathe naturally without feeling like they need to be hyper-aware of something they do without thinking.

For thousands of years, it’s been practiced in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, just to name a few places. It’s a favorite practice among Buddhists. Devout lifelong practitioners practice walking meditation in between long hours of seated meditation, or zazen.

Walking Meditation Benefits

The benefits of walking meditation start with the benefits of walking! Taking a stroll every day is great for your heart as well as your general health. Making into a walking meditation turns this already-beneficial activity into an even better holistic wellness practice. Here are a few of our favorite benefits of walking meditation.

Unity of mind and body: Walking meditation strengthens the connection between your mind and your body, making it possible for you to enjoy your consciousness and life more completely.

A stronger connection to nature: To many of us, the natural world is sacred. Walking meditation is a beautiful way to fall in love with nature. It allows you to enjoy your environment and feel gratitude for the world that surrounds you every step of the way.

Reduced anxiety: Mindfulness meditation, and walking meditation in particular, has been shown to reduce anxiety. On top of that, additional research has shown that meditating before or after walking can help reduce anxiety as well.

A longer attention span: According to yet more research, you can improve your ability to concentrate and focus through mindfulness practices that connect body and mind. Those include yoga, tai chi, and walking meditation.

How to Practice Walking Meditation

Here’s a step-by-step guide to start practicing walking meditation right now.

First, find a place to walk. All you need is space to take about fifteen steps, a distance of thirty or forty feet. You might want to be somewhere where no one will distract you with questions, as people aren’t used to seeing such intentional and focused walking. You can do this indoors or outdoors.

Next, walk 10-15 steps. Along the lane you’ve chosen, slowly walk ten or fifteen steps. Then, pause and breathe. When you’re ready, turn around and walk back. Rinse and repeat, while following the meditative process we’re about to describe.

As you walk, focus on each component of each step. The idea of walking meditation is to intentionally do things that you usually do automatically while walking. It will feel weird at first. Push through the weirdness. Concentrate on each of these components of your walking as you’re doing them:

  • lifting one foot
  • moving the foot forward
  • placing it on the ground, heel first
  • shifting your body’s weight onto the leg you just placed, so you can lift your back foot
  • lifting your back foot
  • moving it forward and observing the swing as it moves
  • placing it on the ground, heel first
  • shifting your body’s weight onto the leg you just placed, so you can lift your back foot
  • and so on and so forth.

Find your own ideal speed. There’s no “right” speed for walking meditation. That said, it’s called walking, not running, jogging, or speed-walking. Traditionally, walking meditation is slow and involves small steps.

Find a relaxed place for your hands and arms. Some people clasp their hands either in front or behind them. Other people let their arms hang. Do what feels natural, but be sure to relax your arms while doing it.

Remember to focus.

What you’re doing is centering your entire consciousness on a reality that you usually take for granted. This takes practice. Your mind will definitely wander. That is natural and okay. When it happens, gently draw your mind back to the steps.

If you are experienced in seated meditation, this will be familiar to you. It’s just that instead of focusing your attention on the breath, you’re focusing on your steps.

Above all, it’s important that you make walking meditation part of your daily routine.

Walking meditation will grow on you as you continue practice it. Eventually, meditating on your steps will become a source of refuge and comfort, no matter where you’re going, no matter the speed. But it takes intentional practice to get there. Make a point of integrating walking meditation into your routine until it becomes a habit. The rewards are well worth it!

Walking Meditation Frequency and Duration

For the full benefit, we recommend practicing your walking meditation at least once per day. As for the amount of time you spend doing it, that’s up to you. We recommend starting with just a couple minutes at a time. It’s not a big time commitment, so you can establish the habit more successfully.

Helpful Tips for Walking Meditation

As the folks at Deepak Chopra’s Chopra center put it, “Mindful walking is the actualization of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote, ‘It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.'”

To set yourself up for success in this practice, remember those words. This is not about getting anywhere. The place you’re trying to get is the walking itself. The distance you travel doesn’t matter. The number of steps you take doesn’t matter, either. It’s all about being truly present in each moment of stepping.

This is a beautiful practice that’s highly recommended for anyone interested in personal wellness and spiritual healing. We encourage you to try it!

Cover photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash.