Doing a walking meditation is a wonderful alternative for those who have trouble staying awake in traditional seated meditation, or if you simply want to get out into nature instead of sitting inside your office.
Do you have trouble trying to meditate because you don’t like sitting still? Do you fall asleep easily while meditating? There is a wonderful meditation practice that you may not know about that involves movement. For new and experienced meditators, walking meditation is a powerful practice. There are other types of moving meditation such a tai chi and yoga, however, this post will focus on how to do a walking meditation.
You can do walking meditation indoors or outdoors, but outdoors is a great way to connect with nature and feel grounded. If you do this indoors you don’t need much space, because you’ll be walking extremely slowly. You could take 5 minutes to walk across your living room if you choose to.
- Start by standing still to gain awareness of your body.
- Your hands can be clasped in front of your body, or just hanging by your sides.
- Lift your right foot to start to take your first step, noticing the weight of your leg and how your balance needs to adjust. Think quietly to yourself ‘right’ as your heel first touches the ground. Shift your weight fully to your right foot, and then notice how your left heel comes off the ground.
- Lift your left foot, and think to yourself ‘left’ as your left foot touches the ground, and so on.
- Notice what your body is doing… there’s a lot going on! balance, weight shifting, muscles contracting and releasing. Notice how your weight starts on the heel and shifts to the front of your foot.
- The focus is on how your feet contact the ground and all the various sensations in your body..
- Your gaze can be a soft gaze on the ground, a few feet in front of you.
- If you prefer, you may change the words to anything you find peaceful and keeps your focus, such as ‘peace’ and ‘love’, or ‘breathing in’ and ‘breathing out’.
Do this walking meditation for any length of time you wish. Perhaps start with 5 or 10 minutes. The pace ideally is very slow, so you can really experience the shifting of weight and various sensations in your body. You can walk as slow or fast as you wish once you are familiar with how to do walking meditation. You can even do this as you walk at a normal pace to a meeting at work.
This is also a good opportunity to focus inward, and practice not caring what other people think if they see you doing this. I took my meditation group outside for walking meditation on a sidewalk of a very busy street. Cars zoomed by, other people walked past us, and the group remarked afterwards how much they enjoyed doing this, feeling a sense of peace and calm among city activity around them.
Try walking meditation! It’s a refreshing way to meditate and a nice alternative to seated meditation.
Wishing you a beautiful, mindful day.
~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey.