If you struggle with sit-down meditation, mindful walking is a great way to practice meditation. Mindful walking is a meditation technique that involves slowly walking and focusing on the sensations of your body moving. It is different from a regular walk in which we might be absorbed in our thoughts or phones.
This article explores the benefits of mindful walking, how to practice it, and places where you can go to do it if you don’t have access to an indoor space for meditation.
What is Mindful Walking?
Mindful walking is a simple meditation practice during which you pay attention to the sensations of your body as you walk. You can do it indoors or out, wherever you can walk slowly, preferably somewhere quiet where you won’t be distracted by other people or noise. It helps you slow down your mind and become more present in the moment.
When you walk mindfully, you are not thinking about what you have to do later or what you did earlier in the day; instead, you focus on your breath and your body as you walk.
The Benefits of Mindful Walking
Since mindful walking is a form of meditation, it has many of the same benefits as other types of meditation, including reduced stress and anxiety, better focus and attention, and improved sleep.
Here are some other benefits of mindful walking:
Mindful walking can help you de-stress. One of the most common reasons people practice mindful walking is because it’s a great way to de-stress and relax your body. Many people find it helpful to incorporate mindful walking into their daily or nightly routines as a way to relax before bedtime.
Mindful walking will make you more present. If you feel ungrounded or lost in your thoughts, mindful walking can help you get back to the present moment. It’s a simple way to ground yourself and feel more present in your life.
Mindful walking can help you sleep better. When you’re stressed or anxious, it’s common to have trouble falling (and staying) asleep. Mindful walking can help you reduce some of that stress and improve the quality of your sleep.
Mindful walking can improve your focus. Another common reason people practice mindful walking is to improve their focus and attention.
Mindful walking helps you connect more to nature. As you focus on sensations and feeling, you can sense nature and connect more deeply.
How to Practice Mindful Walking
When you’re ready to practice mindful walking, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, ensure that you’re in a peaceful safe place to walk where you won’t be distracted or interrupted; you need to be focused on the walking itself to get the most out of it.
Start by taking a slow, full breath, and then start walking. Focus on the sensations of your feet hitting the ground and your legs moving. The goal is to be present in the moment; this is not a time to organise your to-do lists, solve a work problem or ruminate. As thoughts come up, observe and try to let them go.
If your mind starts to wander, that’s normal and expected; simply bring it back to focusing on your walking. Return your focus to the sensations of your body moving and the sounds around you.
Where You Can Practice Mindful Walking
Because mindful walking is such a simple meditation technique, you can do it just about anywhere. However, there are some places that are better than others depending on your access to space and privacy. Here are three places you can practice mindful walking:
A quiet indoor space. If you have access to a quiet indoor space (e.g., your home or office), you can practice mindful walking almost anywhere. Simply walk slowly and focus on the sensations of your body moving. A mindful walk around your home or office can be a great way to take a break from work.
An outdoor path. You may want to find a path that isn’t too crowded so that you aren’t distracted.