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What Is Walking Meditation?
Walking meditation is a mindfulness practice that blends the physical experience of walking with the focused mindfulness of a meditative state. Walking meditation mobilizes meditation, allowing you to focus on mind-body connection as you pace or walk around a room or outside. With this form of meditation, you determine your walking pace and the length of your session. During a walking meditation session, the practitioner takes a few steps for a certain amount of time, focusing on the body’s movements and physical sensations with every step.
Kinhin meditation, which is widely practiced in many forms of Buddhism, offers the best of both worlds, alternating between walking and sitting meditation.
4 Benefits of Walking Meditation
Walking meditation is a helpful exercise that focuses on both your physical and mental well-being. Here are some of the benefits of walking meditation:
- Improves awareness. Walking meditation can help keep you in the present moment. During a session, you continuously draw attention inward as your body moves and your mind wanders, improving your concentration and awareness of your physical surroundings and mental state.
- Improves sleep quality. You can use meditation to improve sleep quality. Meditation helps curb stress, anxiety, and depression—all three of which can cause insomnia. A regular meditation practice can reduce your heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and increase the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone.
- Offers mental clarity. The busy nature of everyday life can make it challenging to find a moment for yourself. Walking meditation can slow down racing thoughts and help rebuff life’s many distractions, giving you more time to focus solely on your own mental and spiritual needs.
- Facilitates mind-body connection. In this form of meditation, you pay attention to all the physical sensations of walking, like a moving body scan, where you take inventory of your physical being. Note how your feet feel upon making contact with the ground, how your arms feel as they swing with each step, or how your posture aligns as you move at a slow pace.
How to Meditate While Walking
Walking meditation is a physical activity you can do anywhere you have enough space to take a few steps comfortably, whether at home or outdoors at a park.
- Pick a place. Perform mindful walking in a safe space where you have enough room to move comfortably. The space doesn’t have to be completely quiet, but it should be relatively distraction-free.
- Start walking. Take 10 to 20 steps in a line, moving slower than your normal pace. Be deliberate with your steps, putting one foot in front of the other in a slow, rhythmic fashion. When you reach the end of those steps, turn around and walk back the same way, keeping the same, slow pace.
- Pay attention. Notice how your legs feel when you lift them into the air and when they make contact with the ground. Take note of any other sensations you feel while walking. As you walk, your mind may start to wander. Use the sounds and feelings of your steps and breathing to refocus your attention. If there are noises in the distance you can’t block out, simply acknowledge the sounds, then shift your attention back to your steps and your breathing. Repeat this activity for at least 10 to 15 minutes every day.
- Practice. Walking meditation requires patience and practice. Try to include walking meditation into your daily life as much as possible to reap the benefits.