Beginners or people with attention difficulties may prefer walking meditation, as it can facilitate mindfulness of body sensations while moving—especially if focusing solely on the breath proves to be too difficult.

By Jennifer Mazzoni

Meditation should never become a chore—something we just “have to do” because we practice daily.

Approaching any of our daily activities as a chore does not truly benefit us. It helps to keep a beginner’s mind and to approach meditation practice with new eyes or a new technique. I find it beneficial to take online courses that teach techniques unfamiliar to me.

Walking meditation can complement your seated practice (I wouldn’t recommend completely replacing seated meditation with walking meditation, however).

Beginners or people with attention difficulties may prefer walking meditation, as it can facilitate mindfulness of body sensations while moving—especially if focusing solely on the breath proves to be too difficult.

Highly Recommended

Walking meditation is highly recommended by a wide range of teachers.

Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, famous for developing the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) recommends walking mindfully for 10 minutes daily. The Greater Good in Action of Berkeley University adapted one of his guided walking meditations.

Meditation teachers (and authors) Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield offer a variety of walking meditation guides. Thich Nhat Hanh offers a beautiful description of mindful walking, which focuses on uniting body and mind as well as our interconnection with the Earth.

Benefits

There are many benefits of walking meditation:

-may improve ability to focus (due to an increase in sensory stimuli observed as you walk – as compared to sitting in a quiet room)

-may “invigorate” and “build strength and stamina”

-great for beginners learning the basics of meditation

-great for seasoned meditators looking to refresh their practice

Basics of Walking Meditation

Choose a place without heavy traffic. You can even start in your backyard or a local park. It should be a place that is safe to practice walking meditation. Aim for 10-15 minutes of walking. If this is not possible for you, aim for five minutes and build as you gain more experience.

Keep a slow pace. Your movements should be slow, steady, and even.

There are various methods to practice walking meditation. I am going to guide you through an adaptation based on various methods including Thich Nhat Hanh’s and Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s.

Let’s Walk! A Guided Walking Meditation

Choose a place outdoors that is both safe for walking meditation and free from heavy traffic.

Stand for a few moments, feel your feet planted firmly into the ground.

Set a timer for 10-15 minutes.

Take two deep breaths as you begin to feel centered and prepared to practice.

Keep your arms at your side or clasp your hands together, whichever feels more natural.

Begin walking—walk at a slow, steady pace.

Breathe naturally.

Focus your attention on the soles of your feet as they touch the ground.

Observe any sounds you hear and label them, such as “dog barking” or “birds singing.” No need to focus on the sounds, simply label them as you continue to walk.

Be aware of any visual stimuli: flowers, a tree that you have not noticed before, a scurrying squirrel. Acknowledge what you see as you continue to walk. Allow your attention to be open to what you see, hear, and feel as your feet touch the ground. Each step you take grounds you in the here and now.

Thank you for practicing walking meditation today.

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

Jennifer Mazzoni M.S. CCC-SLP, is a full-time mom, part-time Speech Language Pathologist, and she works part-time in a rehabilitation setting. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the Chicago area. Follow her blog, Help Mama Meditate, and catch her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest!

 

 

Were you inspired by this post? You might also like:

 

The Practice of Tonglen: Sending & Receiving with the Breath {Lojong Teaching}

  By Daniel Scharpenburg The first time I heard about tonglen practice I thought it sounded really weird. I don't connect with visualization type practices very well a lot of the time, so when I read that this was (sort of) a visualization...

My Friends with Benefits Relationship with Meditation

  By Dana Gornall I want to meditate. Actually, it goes beyond wanting and has reached a level of needing to meditate. I'm stressed, I'm cranky, and I feel like I have gone past overwhelmed. Driving to work the other morning, the radio was off; I drove in...

The Power of Living in Mindfulness: Infinite Possibilities Between Breaths

  By Deb Avery Have you ever felt that a brief moment of time seem to last forever? Maybe a moment that took your breath away with it's beauty and grace? Or maybe it was the polar opposite and it was a moment that caused pain and sorrow and it seemed to go on forever....

Dear Sangha, Thank You for Making me Less of an A**

  By Tyson Davis So I have been meditating almost daily for seven years, but I have a dirty little secret. Okay, I have several dirty little secrets, but only one that I am prepared to share with you readers. I don’t like to meditate. Yes, you read that right. I...

Comments

comments

The Tattooed Buddha

The Tattooed Buddha strives to be a noncompetitive, open space for the author’s authentic voice. We offer a dialogue that is aware and awake to the reality of our present day to day, tackling issues of community, environment, and compassionate living. A space for the everyday person, whether Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Christian, Pagan, or secular humanist, we hope to provide a platform for a voice that seeks to change the world one article at a time.

Latest posts by The Tattooed Buddha (see all)

(Visited 235 times, 1 visits today)