Walking, when most people think about it, brings to mind a stroll in the park or a walk down the driveway to the mailbox. While walking has its own health benefits, it can help relax the mind if done correctly.
Practicing walking meditation can place your entire awareness while walking, and it allows you to be mindful of your body, feelings and mind.
The next time you go for a walk, consider these tips to put your mind at ease:
1. Pick a specific place
If you want to have a rewarding walking meditation session, you need to choose a specific place where you will have your sessions.
Ideally, the place should be secluded so that you are able to maintain your attention without many distractions. Just be sure it is a safe place that it is relatively quiet. Settling on one place saves you time since you do not have to keep choosing a place every time you want to practice meditation, and you will be better able to maintain your attention once you have gotten used to a place.
2. Pace back and forth
Although you can always choose to move in any direction you wish, the best way to practice walking meditation is by pacing back and forth.
Walk for about 30 to 40 feet, and then go back the same distance. This is great since routine helps contain your attention, plus the breaks between the start and end point are very refreshing. Break your meditation into three sections -- and reduce your pace with every section.
The whole point of meditating is to concentrate on one thing at a time -- it is to discipline your mind and senses to stay focused on the activity in question.
With walking meditation, your primary goal is to concentrate solely on the walking -- to feel your feet leave the earth, come into contact with it again and then shift the pressure from one foot to the other. One has to admit that being able to focus on the walking alone can be a bit of a task, but you can help yourself stay true to your goal by noting the things you are doing.
Note the basics of walking as you execute them: say lift, drop and shift as you do the deeds, and you will be able to concentrate better.
Alternatively, count your steps as you pace. Counting from one to 10 as you walk can go a long way in helping you contain your wandering mind.
Every time your attention wanders, start again from one. And if you find a distraction that you simply must concentrate on, simply focus your attention on it for a while and then resume your meditation as before.
5. Walk Barefoot
In order to make the most out of your walking meditation, most mediation experts advise you to walk barefoot. If you must, wear very light sandals. There is a rare connection with nature that you feel when you walk barefoot. Although it might appear to come at too high a cost, this connection can add great value to your meditation routine.
6. Stay at it
Although at the beginning you may find it hard to stay focused, do not give up. With time, you will get used to the routine and have a much easier time focusing on your walking. You could start with 15 minutes of walking meditation every day and then increase the length of time gradually up to 45 minutes. Remember to breathe deeply as you pace back and forth and more so when changing directions -- it can do wonders for your concentration.
Stephanie Lynch started HowMuchIsIt.org to help individuals find out what unknown things cost in life. She is married with two sons and currently resides in Gilbert, AZ. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.