How To Meditate: Walking

This simple walking meditation is perfect for a familiar route you walk in everyday life.

How To Meditate: Walking

At some point during your day, you will probably walk somewhere. Even during the pandemic, we still need to go from A to B, right?

Well, instead of the stationary meditations our how to series has covered so far, body scans and mantra meditation, today we’re taking a look at how you can practice meditative walking.

Walking is truly a gift. I was lucky enough to grow up in the countryside and walked everywhere. In fact, it was one of the ways we spent time as a family – walking in the English countryside.

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What Is Walking Meditation?

The title may be fairly intuitive, but walking meditation relates to focusing closely on the physical experience of walking. It’s important that you pay attention to the specific components of each step you take.

Walking is such an automatic action that we often don't think about it. With practice, this can become an opportunity for greater focus and awareness.

Here is a helpful instructional video that explains more:

How To Practice Walking Meditation

There are many variations of walking meditation. This one is best practised on a familiar route; perhaps one that you walk in everyday life.

1. The posture. Make sure your back is upright, but not stiff. Feel your feet touching the ground; the connection between the sole of your foot and the ground. Let your weight distribute across both feet evenly.

2. The thumb. Curl your thumb (either hand) in and wrap the rest of the fingers around it, bring it to your belly button and then wrap your other hand around it, resting your thumb in the crevice formed between your thumb (hand one) and index finger (hand two). This is mainly to help with balance, but it also keeps swinging arms from becoming a distraction during the meditation.

3. The gaze. Dropping your gaze slightly helps you to maintain focus, it is just naturally easier.

4. The right foot. Now we can begin walking, but a little differently to how we do normally. Step out with your right foot and feel it swing through the air and then hit the ground. Feel the heel of the foot make contact with the ground, then the ball, now the toes (if your order is different, that’s okay, just make sure to pay attention to each part of the foot hitting the ground).

5. The left foot. Exactly the same instructions, but for the left foot. Remember to feel the swing and then the contact with the ground.

6. Walk. Now you can go ahead and begin walking, at a slightly slower pace than normal. If your attention wanders, then you can bring it back to the sensations we have just talked about; your leg swinging, your heel, ball and then toes making contact with the ground.

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Tom's Top Tips

  • Find your place. Though it is possible to do this in the street, I don't tend to. Some people can do this, but I find the necessary awareness of lights and traffic impacts my practice.
  • Find your pace. Similarly to above, this will be slightly different for each person. Usually, it is best to be on the steadier side, rather than faster, allowing you time to focus on the sensations.
  • Give it time. People try this once or twice and don't see how it helps, but it is important to continue practising over a longer period of time to feel the benefits.
  • If you enjoyed this meditation, you might want to review the 5 minute mindfulness exercises and pranayama breathing, as other meditative practices you can try.
  • Remember the focus is on every sensation. When you focus on this specific level, it’s easier to remain in a meditative state for longer. See these sensations as your constants, regardless of what thoughts come to you, since you can always come back to the sensations of your body.If you want to learn more about the benefits of meditation, you can read about it here.