Yoga is a moving meditation, and walking can be a wonderful way to practice it.
The idea of walking meditation, just like other meditations, is to be fully present. You can bring such awareness to the way you walk, your surroundings, and the moment itself, that this practice can create a heightened state of connection and peace.
My first experience with walking meditation was at a yoga teacher training in Baja, Mexico. Each morning we got up super early, did a short asana practice, then we went out to the beach for walking meditation.
I would place my feet slowly, mindfully, listening to the waves crash on the shore. I felt the subtleties of each step, and often would close my eyes or even walk backwards to shift my perspective.
Learning Walking Meditation
The way I learned walking meditation was basically learning how to walk again – very slowly. Now, it doesn’t have to be the same for you, and you don’t have to do walking meditation super slow motion, but it’s helpful to start that way and train yourself to stay focused, then you can speed it up.
One way to do this is to stand with your knees bent, then pick up one foot, play with the balance, and place it down very slowly. Walk in place like this in super slow motion, then start moving forward (or backward, or sideways) in full mindfulness.
Another way to learn walking meditation is to simply walk and notice as much as you can in the moment.
- Can you feel every part of your body and the way your feet move?
- What does your breath feel like?
- Can you create more space inside and let your breath move deeper?
- What sounds do you hear?
- What colors do you see?
- What does the air feel like on your skin?
Ways To Focus While Practicing Walking Meditation
There are some truly beautiful ways to gather and hone your focus while doing this practice. Here are some ideas for you:
- Notice as much as you can in each moment (see questions above for cues)
- Think about planting lotus flowers with each step
- Use a mantra, such as Om Namah Shivaya, or Om Shanti
- Work with an intention or affirmation, repeating it like a mantra
- Feel each breath fully
- Think of all that you’re grateful for – see how long you can keep this up!
Oh yes, though the fresh air and getting outside is ideal, you can do this on a tread-mill as well, or pacing up and down your hallway, or anywhere else for that matter if going outside isn’t an option.
Also, if you have four legged friends along for your walk, you can still do this, just stay calm and in the moment whenever you need to help them remember what they need to do. Don’t let yourself get pulled out of your center by your companions (literally or energetically), instead, have full patience with them and yourself.
Remember, it’s a practice – just enjoy the journey!
Now that you have some ideas for walking meditation, get out there and enjoy! You might also dig my article Demystifying Meditation which gives great ideas for seated meditation.
- If you have questions or comments, please post them below.