As anyone who has followed this blog for a while probably already knows, I’m always on the lookout for new meditation techniques. Recently, I discovered something called Walking Meditation that was so interesting I felt compelled to tell my readers about it.
What Is Walking Meditation?
There are several different types of walking meditation out there: Theraveda, Zen (also known as Kinhin), Thich Nhat Hahn, Yoga, Daoist, and Mindfulness Walking Meditation. I’m going to focus on the last one in today’s post because I found it the most helpful, but do feel free to click the link above if you want to explore other options.
Mindfulness Walking Meditation is quite similar to the types of meditation you’d do while sitting or lying down. You begin by doing something simple: taking a walk. Where that happens is entirely up to do. I didn’t always have a name for it, but it turns out I’ve been practicing Mindfulness Walking Meditation in many of the places I talk walks at: the mall, local parks, sidewalks, and even in front of washers and dryers on laundry day.
When you are walking, focus on nothing other than the sensations your body is feeling as you walk. Remain engaged with all of the things you can see, hear, feel, and touch as you walk. Do your best to call your attention back to the present moment every time your mind begins to wander.
Now that we’ve clarified what we’re talking about and how it’s done, let’s move onto the four reasons why I think you should give Mindfulness Walking Meditation a try as well.
Reason #1: You Can Do It Anywhere
You can walk and remain in the present moment in a noisy place or a quiet one. It can happen in a busy waiting room, a park, a corridor, or any other place where you can find a small area to pace or walk around in. You might be surrounded by thousands of other people or no one else at all.
Unlike some of the other forms of meditation, you don’t need to close your eyes or find a place to sit to do this one. I find that incredibly appealing.
Reason #2: It Gives Restless Meditators Something to Focus On
While I’ve grown more used to sedentary forms of meditation over the years, there is still a part of me that finds it challenging to stay seated for this practice.
The beautiful thing about walking meditation in general, including Mindfulness Walking Meditation specifically, is that it provides you with something to focus on that won’t distract from your goal. It’s so much easier for me to remain in the present moment if my legs are moving!
Reason #3: In Months That Don’t End in “uary,” It’s a Great Excuse to Spend Time in Nature
Yes, I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here. Of course you could go on a long, meditative walk in January or February if you wanted to. Just because I stay indoors as much as possible during the coldest part of the winter doesn’t mean everyone must do that
There is something meditative about spending time out in nature even if you’re in a month that ends in -uary. One of the things that surprised me the most about Toronto when I first moved here was how many trees this city had, so I spend more time in nature than I thought I would when I became a city person.
There are small parkettes sprinkled throughout the general Toronto area, and we have quite a few large, well-maintained forests to explore as well. Walking through them is one of my favourite things to do in the entire world.
Reason #4: It Helps You Stay Connected to Your Body
Have you ever tried walking any distance when you have a pebble in your shoe? What is mildly annoying at first can quickly become something that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
One of the unexpected benefits of Mindfulness Walking Meditation that I’ve noticed has been how it encourages me to pay attention to what is going on with my body. For example, I recently figured out that I have a higher chance of developing a headache on days that I don’t practice good posture. This wasn’t something I was aware of before, but I’m now trying to correct it thanks to this practice. How cool is that?
If you’ve tried any form of walking meditation or are planning to in the near future, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic.