Simple walking meditation for more mindfulness
Walking meditations are often practiced by experienced meditators before, in between, or after sitting meditations. In this type of meditation, all attention is given to the movements of the body. Therefore, the walking meditation is also ideal for beginners, who often find it difficult to sit still for a long time at the beginning.
Walking meditation is a type of mindfulness practice that combines the physical experience of walking with the focused mindfulness of a meditative state. Walking meditation supports meditation by allowing you to focus on the mind-body connection as you move and "walk around." For example, meditative walking can also be practiced before a meditation session in order to relax the body and prepare the legs for longer periods of sitting.
What is walking meditation?
This form of meditation has its origins in Buddhism and is a good exercise to learn mindfulness and deceleration. Essential in walking meditation is the use of the natural walking movement in order to be present and aware of the moment.
"What matters is going, not arriving, because walking meditation is not a means, it is the goal itself." - Thich Nhat Hanh
It does not have to be combined with a sitting meditation as mentioned at the beginning, but can also simply be practiced on a stressful day or as a preventive measure. Walking helps clear your mind, allowing you to better focus on important things. The kind of conscious running also supports you in finding more grounding and stability - no matter where you are. In connection with deep abdominal breathing and directing your attention to your legs and feet, challenging everyday moments can be mastered more mindfully. You bring yourself back into your body awareness and cultivate inner peace.
Walking meditations are particularly useful because they can be done anywhere, without any extra equipment or extra time allocated. You can also meditate on the way to work or to the supermarket.
A Guide to Walking Meditation
Walking meditation means more than just going for a walk. We train to be as mindful as possible: this form of exercise is about being aware of our body and our bodily sensations while we are in motion. Our eyes are open, feet are well grounded and connected to the ground, and our mind and body are rooted in the present.
- Before you start meditating, find a quiet place where you can walk comfortably. This can be outdoors, in the woods or in quiet streets of a city, as well as indoors, in a hallway or a large room.
- Now start walking at your own pace. This can be fast or slow as long as the walking is conscious. Find a comfortable place for your hands. You can lay them on your stomach, support them on your hips, let them hang or even put them in your jacket pockets.
- Once you find a comfortable position, focus on the walking itself and each step you take . Concentrate on the rise and fall of your feet and feel the movement in your legs and the rest of your body. If your thoughts wander, try to bring them back to the here and now.
- Now focus your attention on your sense of smell for 1 to 2 minutes. If there are any smells in your environment, try to perceive them without associating them with feelings.
- After that, switch to the sounds you hear for a few minutes. No matter where you are, try not to classify the sounds as "pleasant" or "unpleasant", but only perceive them as noises.
- Now devote yourself to your visual environment. Pay attention to things, shapes and colors. If your thoughts get caught on an object in particular, try to bring your attention back to spatial awareness.
- Towards the end of the meditation, come back to consciously experiencing the walking movement. Feel the flow of your feet and your body again.
Forest bathing for mindful walking in nature
The practice of walking meditation can be wonderfully combined with forest bathing. Shinrin Yoku comes from Japanese and means something like
"Bathing in the forest air". With this nature-related practice you will discover the healing power of the forest through a meditative and mindful stay in the forest.
Try the walking meditation in the forest and give yourself moments of arrival and inner balance.
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