If you didn't know that there are different ways to do a walking meditation, it's time to explore this for yourself and see which way resonates with you.
Doing walking meditation simply means being 'present', and placing all your attention on your walking. You use your body's senses to fully experience the movements.
This means to notice what your body is doing when it walks, when it moves. We usually take walking for granted and often don't think about it. Walking meditation is a moving meditation.
You can do this anywhere that is safe, like inside your home or outside in nature where they is no danger of traffic, for example.
Remember, simply be present and focus on your body's sensations as you do this...
1. Regular Pace Walking
Walk at a relaxed pace, and as your left foot touches the ground, say ‘left’ silently to yourself. As your right foot touches the ground, say ‘right’ silently to yourself. And so on. This keeps you mindful and present as you pay attention to syncing your words with your steps.
Alternatively, you might want to experiment with changing the words you're saying silently to yourself, such as 'peace' and 'calm', synced with your left and right steps. Choose whatever words feel good to you.
2. Shifting Awareness
Walk at a relaxed pace, and place your awareness on your body walking for short while, maybe for 30 seconds or a minute or two, it's up to you. Feel and experience the sensations of each step and how your muscles are working as you walk. Then shift your awareness to your surroundings (for example, place keen awareness on sounds, sights, smells, activity, etc) for a few minutes.
Then shift your awareness back and forth between the sensations of your walking and your surroundings every so often.
3. The Very, Very Slow Walk
Take super slow small steps, synced with your breathing:
Inhale as you raise your foot to take a step forward, then exhale as your heel touches the ground and. Repeat, continue.
What do you notice? Are you off balance? Probably!
Taking super slow steps means you'll be balancing on one foot for some of the time. Be safe and don't fall. Find a super slow pace that you allows you to really feel this movement, and be in awe of your body's innate wisdom that keeps you upright. This can be done at such a super slow pace that it could take you 5 minutes to walk across your living room!
Walking meditation is a wonderful, mindful way of giving ourselves a break from our busy days. It’s a great way to bring more movement into our lives and a sense of relaxation and calm. You can even try doing this during your work day as you walk from place to place, meeting to meeting.
This is also considered a moving meditation. There are many kinds of moving meditations such as running, yoga, tai chi and qi gong.
If you have tried seated meditation and found it difficult to stay still, perhaps moving meditation would be more suited to you. When I first was introduced to meditation, I really disliked sitting still and even yoga was difficult for me as I thought it was too slow. For me, it was tai chi that really allowed meditation to enter my life. Once you practice moving meditation for awhile, you begin to really feel the meditative benefits of the practice, and then perhaps seated meditation will become a welcome, comfortable and enjoyable practice for you.
~Wendy Quan, Founder, The Calm Monkey