What Is Walking Meditation?

Get walking for mindfulness

If you find it difficult to sit still for an extended period of time, then walking meditation might be just the right type of meditation for you.

Definition

Walking meditation is very similar to the activity of taking a casual walk around your block, but instead of just strolling to your destination, you make an effort to be mindful of your surroundings, your breath and all the sensations that surround you. Additionally, walking meditation involves paying attention to your body and how it feels when you walk. But the major difference is that you pay attention to the experience mindfully, without judgment, and allow the experience of the walk to fill you with calm insight.

Origins

Walking meditation is an ancient form of meditation that the Buddha practiced. In his discourse on the foundations of mindfulness the Buddha says, “a monk applies clear comprehension in going forward and in going back.” Many Buddhists interpret this saying as an instruction to be mindful and aware while engaging in walking.

Basics

Walking meditation permits the practitioner to be conscious of things outside herself. Because your body is engaged and active, you are better able to focus your attention on sensations that arise. Breathe through your nose, letting the breath flow in and out through your nostrils naturally. Beginners should start walking meditation by concentrating on their step, gradually and naturally slowing down. Focus on the feel of your sole making contact with the ground. You can practice walking at different paces.

Walking meditation can be combined with other meditative practices. For example, it can be hard on some people to sit for more than 30 minutes at a time, so taking a break with a meditation walk at a park for a half hour can be a great release.

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