A lot of the time, we take the daily exercise known a walking for granted. Whether we are commuting to work or even just walking the dog, there are so many benefits to walking; we don’t realize it. This is especially the case when it comes to walking meditation.
What is walking meditation?
Walking meditation is a form of meditation which originates from Buddhism. Its a form of meditation to practice while walking without any intention. It allows you to develop an awareness of your body, each step, and breath you take.
In comparison to other forms of meditation, you have to be consciously aware of your surroundings. Your eyes are open, and your mind and body are firmly in the present.
Today, you will see different walking meditation practices under the practices of Kinhin, Vipassana, and Theravada. Depending on the form of meditation, you will walk in a circle, in a labyrinth or a straight direction.
However, you don’t have to be a disciplined practitioner of specific meditations; you can start today practicing walking meditation. It’s really simple.
How to practice walking meditation?
We suggest to apply walking meditation at least once on your walks and notice the difference. Simply applying this will take your walks to the next level; you can do this by:
Select a location
To practice walking meditation, you’ll want to pick a place where you can walk with little disturbance. You will want to practice this meditation away from traffic, noisy environments such as babies and busy places.
Likewise, you will need to consider that your meditation does not involve you from obstructing others. If it’s hard for you to find a convenient location, you can always choose to go early in the morning when fewer people are around.
Begin your walking meditation
Once you have found your place and have gotten there, you will want to begin walking meditation. First of all, you can start by taking a deep breath to bring your focus into your body.
Then you can feel your whole body, your legs, and the ground underneath you. During this point, it’s good to be aware of any passing thoughts that come into your head and current feelings you are experiencing.
After this, begin walking slowly and think about how your legs, feet are moving, and how the rest of your body moves. If you’re walking and you need to change direction, think about how your feet turn and the feeling in other areas of your body.
It’s recommended you do this and practice this form of meditation for at least 10 minutes. Then, take a break and stretch, then continue if you wish.
Be aware of your thoughts and feelings
When you walk, you will feel a range of physical and psychological sensations. A few major sensations you will get our thoughts and feelings. When these come into your brain, we recommend being aware and acknowledge them.
Don’t make a note of them; just appreciate them and see how they come into your mind when walking. Make sure when these thoughts come into your mind, that they don’t affect your walking. You don’t want to be robust while walking and allow the technique to flow naturally as your feelings do.
Maintain a stable speed and an excellent posture
To do walking meditation, you don’t want to walk at a rapid pace. Most of the time, walking meditation is carried out at an extremely slow speed. To make sure you’re doing this, you can allow your hands to dangle by your sides or hold them behind your back.
You must relax your leg muscles to allowing the movement to become natural and comfortable. Make sure you keep your body upright and aligned. At first, this may be hard; however, it will become natural over time.
11 Benefits of walking meditation
Now you have a baseline knowledge of how to practice walking meditation, here are 11 reasons to why you should do it:
1. Reduces anxiety levels
We know already that walking is a form of exercise and can help release a natural painkiller to our bodies known as endorphins. This opiate serves as a way to boost our mood and reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
Walking and meditation have a soothing and calming effect. A study in 2017 was run with participants who had an average age of 21.7 years. Some of which at random were assigned to walk, meditate, walk, then meditate afterward and then meditate then walk.
They found that meditating before walking or walking before meditating afterward caused participants to have reduced anxiety compared to the control group, which had no improvements.
2. Increases your blood flow
If your someone who sits down for an extended portion of the day, then walking meditation may be for you. As when you undergo this practice, it helps your blood circulation increase and increases your energy levels. Merely getting out practicing walking mediation will alleviate your symptoms of laziness and tiredness.
3. Betters your sleep
When you’re practicing walking meditation, it helps you improve your muscles’ flexibility and reduce your muscle tension. If you also practice this meditation in the morning, you can gain composure of your thoughts, reducing your anxiety and stress. This sets you up for the day with a calming and soothing attitude, allowing you to have less on your mind by the time you sleep.
4. Improves your digestion
Walking meditation can improve your digestion. As when you’re walking, it regulates your metabolism by moving food through your digestive tract. As a result, this also relieves constipation.
5. Improves your concentration
Sometimes when you practice walking meditation, no matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid distractions. Whether it’s the birds chirping in the trees or the sound of nearby cars whizzing on the road, it’s unavoidable. Therefore you have to hone your attention, even more, to focus on your inner self.
As you will encounter these distractions, you will come back into your awareness and practice walking and bring your attention back to reality to practice your meditation. Over time, as you practice this, this will strengthen the ability of your mind.
6. Connects with the present
Walking meditation allows you to tune into your current thoughts and feelings. As a result, your mind becomes quieter, and you extend your awareness around you. This is especially the case with your breathing and your touch sensations. It also increases your feelings of general well being and allows you to relax.
7. A fun way to do exercise
We often tend to get caught up in thinking; exercise has to be some form of rigorous activity. When the truth is, it doesn’t have to be. Walking slowly while being mindful, whether it’s on the treadmill or outside, has been shown to increase feelings of enjoyment.
8. Betters your blood sugar levels
Walking every day has been shown to regulate your blood sugar levels. In 2016, a study was run, which showed those who practiced walking Buddhist meditation; it had a positive effect on their blood sugar levels. Which also reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes.
9. It slows you down
As mentioned before, to practice walking meditation effectively, we need to walk at a slow to extremely slow pace. By merely practicing slow walking allows us to get us in the practice of taking things as they come.
Especially as in life we live such a busy and fast paced one, we often forget to appreciate the little details. Walking meditation teaches us its ok to take our time.
10. Can align with our schedules
We walk every day, no matter what we do. This means we can easily apply walking meditation to the smallest parts of our day, whether we’re only going from one room to the other, walking to work, or anything else.
11. Better your balance
Because you’re more aware of your surroundings and your movement, you may better your balance when walking as you’re focusing more.
There you have it, 11 benefits of walking meditation. Walking is an activity we all do naturally, so take more time to live in the moment and be more conscious of your body’s movements.
The more you practice walking meditation, the more mindful you become.