The practice of walking meditation is one of the most useful and grounding ways of attending to our body. This simple and universal practice is a wonderful initiation for beginners into the art of Meditation and helps develop calm, connectedness, and embodied awareness. An easy practice, that enhances physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
It can be practiced regularly, before or after sitting meditation or any time on its own, such as after a busy day at work. It is especially effective for those who find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time. Enjoy practicing in a beautiful outdoor setting, like a park or nature, choose a scenic and quiet setting. Walking Meditation should generally be practiced for between 20 minutes to 1 hour.
The art of walking meditation is to learn to be aware as you walk, to use the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness and wakeful presence.
To begin your practice, once you have arrived at your selected place where you can walk, begin by standing with both feet firmly on the ground. Take a deep breath and exhale, repeat a few times if you are stressed. Then breathe normally and open your senses to see and feel the whole surroundings. Bring your attention back to focus on the body and center and ground yourself, (explained in detail in Soul Rx book). Now connect with Mother Earth and feel the connection from the bottoms of your feet.
Begin to walk a bit more slowly than usual and let yourself be present and alert.
Walk with a sense of ease and dignity. Relax and let your walking be easy and natural, keep your posture straight and aligned and walk with purpose, chin up and a smile, feel yourself connecting with your body. With each step feel the sensations of lifting your foot and leg off of the earth. Then mindfully place your foot back down. Feel each step mindfully as you walk, feel comfortable, physically and psychologically.
Be mindful of your breathing, without trying to control it. Allow the breath to become diaphragmatic if possible, but always make sure your breathing feels natural, not artificial. Allow the breath to become circular, and fluid.
When you reach the end of your path, pause for a moment. Center yourself, and turn around, pause again and become aware of your steps as you walk back. Experiment with your speed, walking at whatever pace keeps you most present and in flow.
Walk with ‘soft vision’ allowing the eyes to relax and focus upon nothing, while aware of everything. Smile softly with your eyes. Gradually allow the smile to spread from your eyes to your face and throughout your body. This is called an “organic smile” or a “thalamus smile”. Imagine every cell of your body smiling softly. Let all worry and sadness fall away from you as you walk.
Walk in silence, both internal and external.
As you continue walking focus on your breath, your attention may wander away many times. As soon as you notice this, acknowledge where it went softly, “planning” “wandering,” “thinking,” “hearing.” Bring your attention and focus back to present time and your breath. Whether you have been away for one second or for ten minutes, no matter. Simply acknowledge where you have been and then come back to being here and now with the next step you take.
Be mindful of your walking, make each step a gesture, so that you move in a state of grace, and each footprint is an impression of the peace and love you feel for Mother Earth. Walk with slow, deliberate, balanced, graceful foot steps.
After several weeks of regular practice, you will experience the breath, mind and walking have slipped into a regular pattern of their own accord, as you become aware of your natural rhythm and your inhalation and exhalation as well. Combine your breathing with your steps. Breathe in, take two or three steps, breathe out, take three, four, or five steps. Pay attention to what is comfortable for your body.
Use the walking meditation to bring more awareness to your body, calm your mind and connect with Mother Earth.
Practice first in nature, a setting like a park, beach, woods, mountain hike trails etc. so you feel, see and sense calmness, while creating a deeper connection with Mother Earth. You can then extend your mindful walking in an informal way where ever you walk, notice the beauty of your surroundings, both externally and internally. Smile with every cell in your body.
In this simple way, begin to be truly present, to bring your body, heart and mind together as your move through your life.
Walking is a simple way to move on in life, as you physically move in your body and breathe deeply you start to interrupt old toxic thought patterns. If you have a tendency to dwell on past actions or regrets try going for a brisk walk, even if its short, set the intention to move the old thought patterns as they arise and replacing them with something you want to bring into your life.
Look at the road ahead of you and invest your precious energy and attention on moving forward and not looking back. This is a great exercise to energetically move forward too.
For a deeper experience, imagine you are walking to a sacred place. Now walk quietly and take each gentle step with reverence.
As Thich Nhat Hanh (Monk & Zen Master) says “The practice of mindful walking, is a profound and pleasurable way to deepen our connection with our body and the earth.” He proposes that we walk this way every time we walk on the earth. The earth is sacred and we touch her with each step. We should be very respectful, because we are walking on our mother. If we walk like that, then every step will be grounding, every step will be nourishing.
“As I walk on Earth, I leave the energetic imprints of my Divine light through my footprints”
Excerpt From: Eva Patel. “Soul Rx: Illuminating the Path of Ascension on Your Soul’s Journey.”