I also thought I knew how to do it, but then I discovered walking meditation and I realized the opposite. Usually, when you walk, you think about work, family, what to eat for dinner, and don’t pay attention to the gesture you are making.
Thanks to walking meditation, you can rediscover this simple movement, develop greater awareness of your body and regain mental well-being without necessarily sitting cross-legged on the meditation cushion for a long time.
Walking meditation is more than just a walk. It is a different form of meditation, only instead of sitting and using your breath or other body parts to focus your attention, you focus on the gesture of walking.
Compared to a normal walk, the movements are much slower and you listen to everything that happens while walking. By practicing it, you become aware of movement, support, weight shifting and all those sensations that are usually not perceived but always present.
Although it may seem different, it is considered a real meditation practice and gives the same benefits. For many people sitting on the floor can be a real pain, and therefore they cannot meditate because they are continually distracted by the position taken.
Walking meditation can be a wonderful alternative to classic meditation. In fact, many practitioners find it easier to focus on their bodies during the movement than it is while sitting.
Unlike sitting meditation, while walking, the eyes are open, the body is erect and moving, and in general, there is more interaction with the outside world. Precisely because of these characteristics, it can be easier to stay in the present moment.
To learn more about meditation in general, I suggest you also read this article: What is meditation, how to practice it and its benefits.
“Walk and touch the peace of every moment. Each step is a fresh breeze. Each step causes a flower to blossom under our feet. Imprint your love and joy on the earth. The earth will be safe if there is safety in
It is well known that walking is very good for health and numerous scientific researches confirm this. But have you ever wondered what happens if we add the benefits of meditative practice to the effects of walking? It is obvious that the results are incredible.
Below are the main beneficial effects of walking meditation:
It can be a real “lifesaver” in the long meditation sessions that are usually done in retreats. In fact, when you sit for a long time, you will probably have pain in the knees, ankles, and legs, back, neck, etc. Thanks to this practice, on the other hand, you can get up, loosen your legs, and move your body while always remaining in meditation.
Once the ability to focus attention on walking has been developed, it can easily be done in everyday life. You can practice it in the middle of a forest when you go to work or at any time you find yourself walking. There is no shortage of opportunities.
When you feel excessively tired or stressed, it can be a wonderful way to calm your mind and find peace of mind.
It is very beneficial, especially after eating, because it helps digestion. As soon as you get out of bed, it allows the body to reactivate gently. It can be a cure-all even after long periods of sitting in the office in front of the computer.
Incredibly improves willpower. While you practice boredom, doubt will arise, thoughts that have nothing to do with the present moment, but it is completely normal. Continuously bringing attention back to the body and the sensations that walking causes are incredible training for one’s own will.
Undoubtedly the benefits of meditating while walking are many because the effects of meditation are added to those of walking. Still, these are related to the commitment you put into practice and, above all, to the consistency with which you do it.
I often dwell on this point because many practitioners think that getting the many benefits of yoga and meditation is enough to practice every now and then.
Of course, practicing when you are stressed can help you relieve stress at that moment but to get great results, you need to practice constantly, even at home.
Plus, the benefits are part of the journey, but you shouldn’t practice these holistic disciplines just for that. In fact, if you are focused on the destination of the journey, you risk missing out on the beautiful things that you discover during the journey.
Some are practiced by walking in a circular direction, others by reciting mantras and in others, walking is practiced together with breathing exercises. All are profoundly beneficial to the mind and once you have learned one, you can easily move on to another.
The various techniques are similar to the styles of yoga: they have different characteristics, but the purpose is always the same. It is much easier than it looks.
First of all it is important to choose a place where no one can disturb you. You can do it at home, on your yoga mat, outdoors in the city or even in the woods. The important thing is that you create the conditions that allow you to walk undisturbed.
Initially, it is certainly better to practice alone because the presence of other people can be a disturbing factor and already focusing on your body is not easy. Once you have learned the technique, you can also practice with other people.
Before starting to walk, it is important to remain consciously upright. To help you be there, you can ask yourself these questions that will surely help you.
Is the weight of the body on the toes or especially on the heels?
Are the legs active?
Is the pelvis neutral?
Is the abdomen relaxed or contracted?
Is breathing deep and regular or shallow and irregular?
Is the neck straight?
Is the head in a neutral position or is it slightly tilted?
Suppose you practice yoga and know the asanas before starting to walk. In that case, you can perform Tadasana, the mountain position, for a few minutes, which teaches you to stand correctly and consciously.
Once you have focused on how you are standing, you can start walking. The walk should be as slow as possible because this slowdown allows you to observe and perceive even the smallest movements of the body.
In life, whoever goes faster gets to the finish line first. In this case, the one who walks slower “wins.” And so who is “a snail” to walk in this case can take his revenge! Another very important aspect is that you should walk as naturally as possible. This type of meditation does not change the way you walk but only to be aware of it.
Once you have taken the first step, all you have to do is be aware of the body. First of all, feel the soles of your feet. Feel what happens as you put one foot on the floor. Feel the heel touching the ground, then the forefoot, then the toes.
Feel how the distribution of weight changes as you put your whole foot on the ground. Also bring attention to the ankles, calves, knees, thighs and pelvis. Feel how all these parts of the body participate in walking and how they change about each small movement of the feet.
At this point, you feel the spinal column participating in the movement, the chest, the shoulders, the arms that move, and finally, you also perceive the changes in the neck and the head.
Even if you don’t normally notice it, thanks to this sort of “slow motion walk,” you can find that in every part of the body, there are “micro-changes” and, if you focus your attention, you can clearly perceive them.
All this you should do for the duration of the walk. I know that it seems like many things, but after a while, you practice, everything will come naturally to you.