When was the last time you went for a walk, just to walk? No music, podcasts, phone calls or distractions and, perhaps most importantly, nowhere to be. Just you, slowly moving through the world.
This is the premise behind mindful walking, or a walking meditation. It’s about syncing your mind and body, focusing on your steps rather than your breath. Mindful walking teaches you to focus on something other than your thoughts. Many people find traditional meditation challenging, so a mindful walk, where you concentrate on steps instead of your breath, can be a great alternative.
An important part of Buddhist meditations, walking meditations were traditionally done in a circle. Participants would follow the same, slow steps, concentrating on the feeling of their foot hitting the ground – heel to toe – as they move. Many incorporate a mantra as they go.
Really though, you can do your mindful walk anywhere – you don’t need to drive to a forest or to a remote beach to reap the benefits (although walking in nature has its benefits). You can do a walking meditation – at any pace that feels comfortable – around your neighbourhood, on your way into the office, or even around the house.
Some people like to take a mindful walk immediately after their morning meditation, so they can take that feeling of calm out into the world. Mindful walks can be done solo, with a partner or friend – even with the dog.
Ready to give it a go? Here’s how to do it.