“Sit still and immerse yourself into the present with an open mind… turn off your thoughts and absorb the feelings you’re experiencing at this very moment…..”. You can often hear these instructions during meditation classes. Indeed it helps some individuals, but the thing is, not everyone finds it pleasant to sit in one position for 10 minutes, let alone a few hours contemplating. Sometimes it just gets boring and exhausting. Meditation is inspiring and relaxing but it isn’t isolated to sitting positions only.
You’re free to meditate during your everyday actions: strolling, running, cooking, or even exercising. Meditation is not about avoiding your thoughts, it’s about your perception of the present time, which leads us to mindfulness.
Mindful walking – meditation you won’t need to bear with, but enjoy. Mindful walking meditation is the awareness of your movements, sensations, and the ability to stay in the present instead of reflecting on the past or future.
This article discusses the concept of mindful walking and its potential benefits for your emotional and physical health.
What Is Mindfulness In Simple Terms?
Without the knowledge of mindfulness, you won’t fully recognize mindful walking. Mindfulness is a Buddhist teaching that involves becoming aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It can also include observing your surroundings, such as sounds, smells, and objects (2).
Skeptics might underestimate the role of mindfulness in your overall being. The great news is that research demonstrates the connection between mindfulness and enhanced athletic performance.
Additionally, the awareness of the present results in better focus, concentration, and mental clarity. Besides, this serene state can help you understand yourself better, and analyze your behavior constructively, which promotes personal growth.
You’ll let go of your past and see the point of not worrying about the future. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience has linked mindfulness meditation to the reduction of anxiety and depression.
What Is Mindful Walking?
You may be aware of how positively mindfulness impacts your well-being. One of the ways to incorporate mindfulness meditation is by walking. Mindful walking activity is not about the automatic movements you take when going to the grocery store or while gossiping with your friend on the way to a coffee shop.
Overall, mindful walking is the action you make when you’re aware of your movements, you’re aware of the things surrounding you, you’re aware of the sounds buzzing in your ears, you’re aware of sensations, whether you touch the flower or the leaves from the tree.
It’s essential to highlight how closely we get connected to nature when we walk mindfully during rain (1).
There’s no doubt about it as all your sensations immerse into this process: you can see the rain with your eyes, touch it with your fingers, taste it with your tongue, hear the raindrops on the puddles, and smell it with delight.
Hence, mindful walking is your state of being present here and now. Instead of spacing out, you focus on the humans, animals, and objects surrounding you. You feel their impact on your state and become aware that you’re a part of an enormous community.
How Can I Practice Mindful Walking?
Immersing yourself in nature is not the only spot to relive meditation walking. People are different: while some individuals enjoy the silence in the woods, others relish pleasure from the horn of car sounds.
The best thing about mindful walking is that you are the one who chooses the conditions. Let’s take a glimpse at the easy step-by-step mindful walking tips.
- Find your perfect place. Your first step in the practice of mindful walking is finding the place where you feel comfortable: be it a serene park, a bustling street, or even a shopping mall, loaded with versatile colors and sounds.
There is a general misconception describing serenity as your ideal atmosphere for meditation. And a restorative feast of the senses flourishes only by experiencing tranquility. Let’s reel it back a bit and choose something meaningful to your character traits exactly.
- Put on something comfortable. By the way, you should wear comfy clothing and shoes all the time. Not only during mindful walking.
- Relax. Make sure you’re moving naturally without hurrying anywhere. Stand up straight and relax your shoulders. Consider your posture and your weight. Place your hands in any positions you desire. Let your gaze relax and slightly drop. Breathe naturally and slowly (4).
- Start moving slowly. Pay attention to each step and how your body responds to it: maintain awareness of the muscles in your body. Kiss the Earth with your every step, don’t rush into making the next step but enjoy each second of your movements.
- Engage your senses. Now the juicy part – switch on your senses to understand what’s surrounding you and how it impacts your mood and body: smell the freshly cut grass; feel the touch of the rain or leaves on your fingers; observe people and recognize their emotions, gestures; hear their voices intertwined in the area; taste the rain (if it’s raining).
- Breathe, pause, and repeat. Breathe in and out slowly. Take a mindful deeper breath after the 15-20 steps.
Practice mindful walking for 10 to 15 minutes and gradually move to longer periods.
If you wish to reach into the deep crevices of your mind, take yourself out of the mental loop, regain balance, infuse yourself with optimism, and cultivate compassion – BetterMe: Meditation & Sleep app is exactly what you need!
Is Walking A Mindful Movement?
Not every walk is a mindful movement. Daily people rush to grocery stores, schools, libraries, and other places without even thinking about each step. Their heads are filled with thoughts about the list of things they must purchase for the party, the title of the book they desire to borrow from the library, or the reflection on the last romantic date.
Mindful walking doesn’t involve these unnecessary contemplations. It cares about the present and what surrounds you.
Therefore, walking becomes mindful only when you repeat the aforementioned instructions, let go of your past and stop worrying about the future. This is your time to absorb the present and stay in it for some time.
How Effective Is Walking Meditation?
Mindful walking benefits promote both your emotional and physical state. Check out these 5 benefits of mindful walking, and be ready to implement them in your life today.
- It reduces your stress and anxiety. Practicing mindfulness enhances emotion regulation (4). Just think about it, you understand your emotions better and can control them, therefore, during stressful situations, you’re more likely to observe the situation instead of falling into negativity and self-destruction.
- It improves your concentration. During mindful walking, you focus on each movement and the things that surround you. It enhances your ability to concentrate and pay attention to something specific effectively (4).
- It enhances your memory. During meditation movements, you always deal with irritating thoughts but try to eliminate them and focus on something meaningful. You learn how to steer away from intrusive thoughts, therefore, allowing a short-term memory to work without interruptions (4).
- It boosts blood flow. The walking practice is especially good for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Thus, mindful walking is a good way to boost your blood circulation and raise your energy levels.
- It promotes your sleep. Walking in general is an excellent way to improve flexibility and muscle tension. It leads to pleasant languor, which allows you to be out like a light in a few minutes.
Mindful walking – meditation you won’t only bear, but enjoy. It’s the action of complete awareness of your present state and surroundings when moving. The benefits of mindful walking may promote your sleep, boost blood flow, improve your memory, enhance your concentration, and even reduce your anxiety. The best way to practice mindful walking is to put on your comfy shoes and clothing, find a good place to walk, and take slow steps to recognize your feelings at the present moment.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- How to Be Mindful Walking in the Rain (2017, nytimes.com)
- Mindfulness and emotional well-being strategies (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Mindfulness Training Enhances Endurance Performance and Executive Functions in Athletes: An Event-Related Potential Study (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Basics of Walking Meditation (2021, webmd.com)
- The Effects of Different Stages of Mindfulness Meditation Training on Emotion Regulation (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)