There are many different wonderful ways that you can embrace meditation. If you have tried it before and found that the conventional method simply doesn't work for you, then today I want to tell you about a fantastic alternative!
Benefits of Meditation
Engaging in a daily meditation practice can be one of the very best things that you can do to reduce your stress levels and live a more peaceful life. Doing so can help you to make better sense of your feelings and to create a more positive mindset. It can boost your mental health and put you in touch with your emotions in a more meaningful way.
Furthermore, meditation can help you to think with greater clarity and therefore to express yourself with ease. If you are someone who has struggled with meditation in the past, but truly understand the amazing benefits of it, then don't give up!
The fantastic alternative that I am going to talk about today is walking meditation!
When you are walking to get somewhere, you may often notice that you check out mentally. This can be because your mind is distracted by thoughts, memories, worries etc. Before you know it, time has passed and you're at your destination.
A walking meditation provides us with the time to build our awareness of the self, and to find peace within our own minds. This is a time for you and only you – your body, your movements, your thoughts, and your feelings. It is a time when you switch away from autopilot and consciously enjoy the sensations of yourself.
This type of meditation has some advantages over the regular seated meditation that you may be more familiar with. The act of moving around can help to prevent feelings of boredom that may arise from remaining seated, and can also help you to connect to your environment on a deeper level.
The speed at which you engage in a mindful walking meditation is entirely up to you. Some people actually prefer to do this at a jogging pace, or even at a run. However, if you are just getting started then you may want to begin at a very slow pace. This enables you to learn how to create the right balance of self-awareness with awareness of your surroundings.
Walking Meditation Technique
If you are ready to give walking meditation a try, then read on for a simple technique to get you started. You can choose to do this outside in a peaceful place, in your garden, or even inside of your home. As long as you feel at ease and your surroundings aren't noisy or chaotic then you're good to go!
Begin your meditation by walking at a slow and natural pace. You can either hold your hands in front or behind your body, or simply let them hang down by your sides – whatever feels the most comfortable for you.
Start breathing deeply in and out. Fill your lungs completely with air and then slowly release this air back into the world around you. Visualise this air coming in and out, and really feel its presence.
Now as you start walking, count your steps up to ten and then once you reach ten, continue walking but begin counting backwards.
Walk and count in this same cycle for the entire duration of your meditation. As you do so, try to focus your mind and your attention on how your feet lift up from the ground and then reconnect with it. Notice how your body moves and supports you, and how you feel as you continue walking and counting.
Try to maintain your awareness to the point of being safe but also allow your body to be soothed and calmed, detaching a little from your usual alertness.
Notice the sounds that are all around you, or soak up the silence that greets you. If there is noise, then try not to let your mind settle on any one sound for too long, or to try to work out where each sound is coming from. Simply allow each sound to enter your mind and appreciate that you can hear it as you continue counting.
Breathe in the scent of your surroundings and allow your eyes to rest for a moment on the objects, colours, and other sights that you discover.
As hard as you may try to keep your full focus on your walking meditation, it is to be expected that your mind will wander as distractions present. As soon as you realise that you have lost your focus, acknowledge that this has happened, forgive your wandering mind, and bring yourself back to what you are doing.
Accept that all you have to do in the present moment is to walk and to breathe and to count. Let all of your other concerns and worries and stresses fade out of your mind. There is nothing else in this moment that needs your attention.
I recommend that you engage in this walking meditation for at least ten minutes, but feel free to continue for longer if you wish to. There is really no upper limit on how long you can do this for!
Once you are ready to exit the meditation and return to your day, then slowly bring your awareness back to the space around you. Begin to notice the sensations in your body that arise as you are moving until you gently bring yourself to a stop and stand tall for a moment.
Spend some time considering how you might bring this kind of awareness into the rest of your day.
Remember, the purpose of a walking meditation is not to move between two locations with the aim of arriving at a destination. It is concerned with being totally present in your body and mind through each step that you take. This act of total mindfulness is the lesson to take with you from your meditation into every other part of your life.
Living a life full of purpose and intention is something that we all have capacity to do. You simply have to work towards this positive way of living, and to always be sure of what is important to you.
If you are already engaging in a regular meditation practice and can't imagine your life without it now, then you might also be curious about how yoga can further enhance your well-being. Check out my post on Why it’s Worth Making Time for Yoga – Even When Your Life is Crazy Hectic to find out more!
Including a walking meditation each day is such an amazing way to help to eliminate your stress and anxiety. Making this a priority is a great way to help you to stay on top of your own self-care and you will surely soon feel the benefits!
In order to help you build upon this concept I would like to share with you my top ten tried and tested tips for keeping stress and anxiety away!
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