Sometimes we need a map to reach our destination. With walking meditation(WM)
it’s not a goal or the map we use to find peace or joy but the journey itself.
Like most of us sitting in front of a screen for way too long, walking meditation could be a good addition to your meditation practice and exercise routine.
Walking is something we easily do every day with plenty of health benefits. So adding a little mindfulness aspect to our everyday activity that includes going outside and enjoying nature.
Other forms of meditation don’t require you to sit still for long periods, and WM is the perfect practice or bridge to start to bring mindfulness awareness to other daily activities.
Included are 2 short descriptions of recommended books from different backgrounds and practices.
What Is Walking Meditation?
When you think of meditation, what comes to mind? Sitting in silence with your eyes closed? Probably. This type of practice is very different, you’re outside and have to pay attention to the ground you’re walking on and the surroundings.
Walking meditation is exactly what it sounds like, meditating while walking. Rather than focusing on your breath or a mantra, your focus will be on breathing and other things like your surroundings, steps, and currently my posture. This may seem like a difficult thing to do, but with practice, it can be quite rewarding. WM can help you become more aware of your surroundings and allow you to connect with nature.
Some people find that this practice is a more effective way to focus and connect with their surroundings, while others find that sitting meditation focusing on the breath or other object works better for them.
This meditation can be done anywhere, inside, outside, & in public, and it’s an easy way to get some exercise at the same time. This practice lets you focus on the present moment while moving and can help you feel more connected to your surroundings.
Why Walking Meditation?
When you think of ‘meditation’, what comes to mind? Sitting cross-legged on the floor with your eyes closed, silently repeating a mantra? While this is one form of meditation, it’s not the only one. There are many different types of meditation, each with its benefits.
By learning how to focus your attention on your movement, you can take control of your thoughts and experience greater awareness in the present moment. So why not give it a try? Whether you’re new to mindfulness or a seasoned pro, WM is a great way to get centered and connect with your inner peace.
Whichever method you choose to be your primary practice, the most important thing is to be consistent and patient in your practice. With time and dedication, incorporating both sitting and walking mindfulness into your practice will show results.
Walking Vs. Sitting Practice
When it comes to meditation, there are many different ways to practice. Some prefer to sit in silence, focusing on an object like the breath, or mantra recitation, while others enjoy moving their bodies and getting some exercise. If you work inside sitting in front of a computer screen most of the day walking practice outside could be a smart option or addition.
When practicing there are many things you can focus your attention on. Whether it’s your feet touching the ground, your posture, breathing, or the smell of the fresh air, it is best not to change that focus until the practice session.
Walking meditation is an easy way to connect with your body and get some exercise at the same time. It’s also a great way to clear your mind and focus on the present moment. All you need is a quiet spot outdoors or in your home, and you’re ready to go!
What are the benefits of Walking Meditation (WM)?
WM is an easy way to incorporate all the benefits of traditional practice while getting some fresh air and moving your body. This simple practice can help you stay in the present moment and connect with your surroundings.
Walking practice is a perfect way to de-stress and clear your mind after a long day and get your daily dose of lite exercise and mindfulness at the same time.
This ancient practice can help you find focus and connect with your surroundings. With this practice, you can relieve stress and achieve a state of mindfulness by simply taking a walk.
When you’re feeling stressed or out of balance WM can be the perfect way to connect and balance body and mind.
In Buddhism, WM is a form of mindfulness that is practiced while walking. It can be done indoors or outdoors and is a great way to connect with your surroundings while also getting some exercise. Some of the benefits of this practice include improved focus, stress relief, and increased energy levels. Give it a try!
This form of mindfulness while outside can offer a variety of benefits, including improved:
- focus and concentration
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased physical activity
- Health benefits
- And there’s more
Different Types Of Walking Meditation
There are several types of orthodox mindfulness meditations that can be done while walking. Here are just a few.
Putting your attention on the sensation of the movements, touching the ground, shifting the weight, and moving each foot.
Zen or Kinhin
This walking practice is a little more focused on the mechanics of the movements and depending on which school or level of Zen practice, there will be a difference.
These descriptions are not meant to replace instructions, so please take advantage of your local Zen or Shambhala center.
Just like any practice, every teacher will be a little different. I think what is most important is noticing where your attention goes to. Is it the mechanical movements, sensations of the feet when touching the ground or your thoughts and mind?
10-Minute Walking Meditation Practice
In this natural meditation practice just let thoughts rest and relax naturally while attention is on the experience of the moment.A Lite attention can be on almost anything:
- Experience with the surroundings
- Feet touching the ground
- Eye contact
- Wind on the face
- And you can develop your own
One of my favorite things to do while walking in public is to strike up a conversation with someone and see where it goes.
Reading all the books on walking meditation will not replace actual practice. But a little direction from a practicing teacher or a book will help put you on the path to walking mindfully.
These 2 books come from different approaches & perspectives and the authors come from very different backgrounds.
Walking in the Wood: Meditations with a Bear Named Pooh
Join Winnie the Pooh and all his friends as they lead you through a day of walking mindfully throw the woods.
Each chapter follows Pooh from waking up in the morning, meeting with his friends, and ending the day while walking through the woods and seeing his delight in nature.
About The Author
Dr. Joseph Parent is a life coach and has written several books on mindfulness about business, sports, and weight loss.
There are also a few quotes from Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chogyam Trungpa, some Zen stories, and more to help connect walking with your practice.
About the Author
Thich Nhat Hanh was a Vietnamese Buddhist Master, peace activist, and one of the most revered spiritual teachers in the world.
His work for peace during the war in Vietnam moved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He started Plum Village in France. He published a hundred books, which have been translated into more than forty languages.Important Chapters
- Conscious Breathing Meditation A nice explanation of breathing practice.
- Slow Walking can be done inside and good way to start practicing.
- Walking In Nature is about changing focus to the things around you.
- Walking In Public is more advanced.
I’ve heard a story about a Zen teacher at West Georgia college who walked a very deliberate gate through school to the point people would stop a stare. She was asked about her walking process and how it looked different. Her response was something like, “This is how I attract students to my class.” Not sure this is what the Buddha did nor do I recommend it.
ConclusionWhether you’re a beginner or an experienced meditator, we hope you’ll give walking meditation a try.
Walking practice is a form of mindfulness that can be practiced anywhere, and it’s one of the most beneficial practices for beginners.
It’s simple to do: just focus on your feet as you walk, and feel the sensations in your body as you move. WM can help you connect with your body and calm your mind. In this post, we’ll explore some of the benefits of walking meditation and how to get started.
Walking is something we do every day with a lot of health benefits. So there is no reason not to add a mindfulness meditation aspect to this everyday activity.