The first thing that comes to mind about meditation is a tranquil, pillow-covered room with burning candles. In reality, you don’t need a designated space, specific incense, or special clothes for a successful meditation session. You can practice mindful meditation at your desk, on a walk, in your bed, or while cleaning the kitchen. For this article, though, the focus is walking meditation, which is a great entry point for people who are new to meditation.
What Is Mindful Meditation?
Mindful meditation is similar to boiling water. If you want to boil water, you put water in a water kettle and flip the switch, or you boil it in a saucepan by turning on the stove. The water won’t boil if the heat is off, or if you turn the heat on and off throughout the heating process. Similarly, you cannot practice mindful meditation if you are not fully committed to the process. Breaking concentration can make it difficult to remain mindful. This is why many yogis retreat to secluded places. In seclusion, they can focus on mindfulness, often times achieving this through walking meditation.
What Is Walking Meditation?
Walking meditation involves walking in a circle, a figure eight, back and forth, or in a specific pattern. The pace at which you walk is often slow and each step is made with intention. In addition to the slow pace, it is possible to incorporate a mantra or breath work to mindfully walk in a space. The three primary types of walking meditations include:
How To Get Started:
Start by finding a suitable space in which you can walk comfortably. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself and to get your body’s attention. Feel the stable ground beneath your feet and be aware of the different sensations and thoughts. Walk slowly and direct your focus toward the movement of your feet and legs. Whether you walk in a circle or back and forth, do so slowly and mindfully. Ten minutes is the perfect amount of time for beginner walks. If you feel you need to break up walking with stretches, you can do so.
Benefits Of Walking Meditation
Most people sit for eight or more hours a day. Sitting down to meditate after a full day of sitting is not ideal, and this is where walking meditation helps. A 2017 study found that young adults with anxiety experienced reduced anxiety symptoms after meditating, walking, or a combination of both. This was a controlled study that involved 10 minutes of walking or 10 minutes of meditation.
Sleep troubles are common in present day society, especially in the younger generations. Physical activity helps to tire the body and improve sleep, but mental workouts like meditation can also do this. The combination of walking and meditation incorporates both physical exercise and mental relaxation. It is great to practice throughout the day and an hour before bed to enter sleep with a calmer mind.
Boosts Blood Flow:
Walking meditation is a great practice if you sit down all day. It gets the blood flowing, especially to the legs, and promotes lymphatic drainage. Get out of stagnancy and reduce that feeling of sluggishness by entering the present moment during walking meditation.
You may find that the more you practice walking meditation, the more creative you become. In a 2015 report, studies linked mindfulness and creativity, concluding that mindfulness practices improved problem solving skills and the cultivation of new ideas.
Improves Overall Well-Being:
When you take a walk, especially in nature, you notice that you feel more balanced and relaxed. In Japan, some people practice forest bathing. Let us be clear and say that this is not the act of bathing in the forest; rather, people bathe in the forest’s atmosphere, or intake the forest via all of the senses. Both forest bathing and walking meditation contribute to enhanced brain activity, reduced anxiety levels, and improved mood.