I enjoy walking meditation because it is the easiest among all meditations. Here, meditation means paying attention to the steps and the feelings in the body. You can start your walking meditation, wherever you are. There is no specific time for walking meditation. Depending on your mode of living, you can choose a convenient time. If you have an option, go to a place where you can walk among the trees, in the fields and in the nature. I relish walking meditation even during the small breaks in the office.
Walking meditation is a part of mindfulness meditation. It is the easiest form of mindfulness meditation. It is beneficial to do a little yoga exercises along with mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation along with yoga improves our focus. It boosts the brain’s ability to relay commands to the rest of your body. It also helps to strengthen the structure of your brain’s cell membranes. In the book “Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Lifestyle”, Dr, Amit Ray skillfully explained, the ways to practice yoga and mindfulness meditation for health benefits.However, walking itself is a good yoga exercise.
Walking Meditation Techniques:
Normal speed of walking is about three kilometers per hour. While walking look forward, about 15 feet ahead. Keep your face parallel to the ground. But be aware about the obstacles etc. on the path. Keep your neck and the shoulder. Relaxed . Keep your stomach muscles and the spine relaxed. While walking, the arm movement helps you to maintain the balance of the body. Bend your elbows to about 90 degrees. You can swing your hands backward and forward to maintain the balance.
Here, meditation means observing the feelings, sensations and the movements of the body parts.
Walking Meditation Steps
Step #1: Set your goal
There are three goals in walking meditation. The first one is the amount of time you want to spend on walking. Second one is the distance you want to cover. The third one is speed and the walking pattern you want to follow. Meditation is relaxing and walking meditation is a fun. Don’t be too serious about goal setting. I do some mental planning before I start walking. Planing helps me a lot. Generally, I do not follow the same path everyday. I always add some changes in my planning to get more freshness out of it. Depending on your situation, you can walk for 5 minutes to one hour. Do not walk too fast or too slow. Adjust your speed according to your heart pumping rate. Maintain a comfortable speed. I am an early morning walker. If you are an evening person you can use the quiet time between your days responsibilities and evening schedules.
Step #2: Wear your clothes and put on your shoes
Small walking meditation can be done on any dress. However, for formal walking meditation you need yo wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I prefer sports shoes and clothes. Don’t be in a hurry while wearing the clothes or putting on the shoes. Just mindfully observe your own activities.
Step #3: Select your walking meditation path
For me there are three paths for my daily walking. One is around my neighborhood. The second one is on the footpaths of the public road, which I don’t prefer much. My favorite one is among the trees in the park. I prefer to walk in a natural surrounding. If you need to go to the store, the post office or any of the places that are already part of your schedule, you can use the time for walking meditation.
Step #4: Bless your Legs:
Before you start your walking meditation, begin to feel your body starting from your feet. Place your feet firmly on the ground. Bless your legs and feel the earth below them. Move your attention up to your ankles and feel them and bless them. Keep your attention moving up your legs to your knees and thighs. Bless them and if you feel any stiffness just bend them gently and relax.
Step #5: Pay attention to your steps
Observe that the steps are rising from the ground and falling on the ground. Observe the bending of your knees, while you walk. Let your arms hang loosely besides you. Notice if your shoes are comfortable. Notice the qualities of the sensations of your soles. Notice the qualities of the sensations in the joints in every step. Listen to the sound that your feet make on the trail.
Step #6: Pay attention to your feelings
Observe the temperature on your skin. Observe the contact with your clothing. Feel if you have any tension on your neck. Stop often and listen, look, smell and feel the environment and your body. Observe what the calf muscles are doing as you are walking. Keep the calf muscles relaxed while you are walking. Let your feet walk rhythmically and easily, step-by-step on your walk. Just observe these sensations and don’t think about them.
Step #6: Observe the Nature
Open all your senses to the environment. Note any interesting sights. Look with wonder at the sky, at the ground and at the trees. Feel the breeze on your skin. Pay attention to the sounds you hear in the surroundings. Hear birds or the sound of traffic. Take a deep breath and smell the atmosphere.
Step #7: Feel connection with all living things
Feel the connection with the environment and with the all the living things. You can send positive energy and blessings to the trees you pass, the animals you meet, the birds in the sky or the flowers in the garden. We are all connected. Feel the connection as you walk.
Step #8: Be Thankful
After completing the walking meditation, put off your shoes and take time to be thankful for the experience. Be thankful to the earth. Be thankful to your legs and body. Be thankful for the comfortable clothing. Be thankful for the soft air and the atmosphere.
Step #9: Drink sufficient water
Drink a glass of water before you begin your walk and have another glass of water when you get home.
Walking Meditation Benefits
You can observe several benefits of walking meditation – spiritual, mental and physical. Walking meditation helps to dissipate anger and depressions. Walking meditation Improves immunity of the body and reduces blood pressure. It also also creates “feel good hormone” within you. It helps to regulate the production of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in controlling mood and suppressing anxiety. Walking meditation boosts the brain’s ability to communicate to the rest of your body while also maintaining the structure of your brain’s cell membranes, which improves clarity of mind and memory power. Walking meditation improves the functioning of the lungs and the heart.