What is walking meditation and does it work?

what is walking meditation
Photo Credit: Dusan Jovic

Walking meditation is a form of meditation in which you walk in a line and mindfully use your senses to connect with the movement of your body and the world around you. We spend so much time sitting down messing around on our phones or binging tv shows. Some people are required to sit in front of a screen while they work, even more so this past year, so meditating in a way that requires you to get out and move can be great.

Walking meditation isn’t something that is commonly understood. When it comes to this mindful practice, depictions usually show someone in a seated position, often on the floor or a cushion. But this position can sometimes be difficult on the hips and legs. It can be a struggle for beginners who aren’t used to sitting in that position for long periods of time. Some meditation experts even struggle with seated meditation if they are teaching classes all day or meditate for long periods of time. That is where walking meditation can be beneficial.

How do you walk and meditate and the same time?

To try this form of mindfulness you will need to find a spot that will allow you to walk a few meters in a straight line in a fairly secluded place so you’re comfortable and don’t feel as though people are staring at you. You will want to shoot for a spot that will allow you to walk at least ten steps but you won’t be walking too far. This can be in your home or outside, maybe at a park where you can be surrounded by nature.

Walk in a straight line, then stop and take as many deep breaths as you would like. When you are walking you should be thinking about what your body is doing as you step. Try to notice yourself lifting your foot, moving it forward, placing it down, and doing the same on the other foot. As you step down make sure your heel is hitting the ground first. Notice how the other foot comes forward and lowers, moving you with it. Keep your arms wherever they naturally tend to fall when you walk.

After you have completed your first straight line you will then turn around and repeat the same process going back to the spot in which you started. Then turn around and repeat again. Walk at a pace that feels comfortable for you. Don’t rush through it but don’t go so slow that it feels super unnatural. Focus on your breath and the way your body is moving. You may also choose to observe your surroundings, especially if you picked out a spot to practice this outside. Refocus on your movement as you notice yourself thinking about other things.

This practice can be a little awkward at first but it comes with the same benefits as seated meditation

People tend to spend the majority of each day focusing on completing work and tasks. It is easy to get caught up in life events and drama. All of this leads to rushing through your day and forgetting to stop and enjoy the little things. Practicing mindfulness can help you reconnect with yourself and tune back into the world. It is also known to relieve stress, improve sleep quality, and even decrease symptoms associated with many health issues.

Focusing on your walking will make you more aware of your movement and take you out of your head when doing something you are so used to doing automatically. It is a great opportunity to focus on being mindful instead of on your thoughts or stress from the day. After you practice walking meditation for a while you will be able to use this skill when walking regularly throughout your day.

You may even find yourself enjoying this more than any other style of meditation. It might be easier on your body or allow you to focus on mindfulness for longer periods of time than when seated in the same spot and position.

There are also many health benefits to walking in general. It gets your blood flowing, lowers your risk of developing many health issues, and is an enjoyable way to workout. These benefits along with the ones that come with meditation make walking meditation a great regular practice to add to your life.

You may see the most benefits when you practice multiple forms of meditation and switch it up often.