I am often asked about walking meditation, what it is and how to do it. Mindful walking or mindful movement can help you to become more aware of the sensations in your body. By tuning into your environment and the sensations in your body as you walk, it can help you to focus in on the present moment. The practice brings you closer to nature and your body. It also helps strengthen your concentration, makes you more aware, and connects you to the present moment.
Steps for Mindful Walking Practice (Brady, 2015)
Try to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, if possible. Begin by standing still and becoming aware of your body and how it feels. Notice your posture, feel the weight of your body pressing down toward the ground, and your heels pushing into your shoes; become aware of all the subtle movements that are keeping you balanced and upright.
Allow your knees to bend very slightly and feel your hips as your center of gravity. Take a few deep belly breaths and bring your awareness into the present moment.
Now begin to walk slightly slower than normal pace, maintaining an almost imperceptible bend in the knees. With each step, be aware of the gentle heel-to-toe rhythm as each foot makes contact with the ground.
Breathe naturally and fully, deeply filling your lungs with each inhalation, but being careful not to strain or struggle in any way. Allow your eyes to focus softly ahead of you, taking in as much of the periphery as comfortable. Try to maintain a soft body and breathing awareness as you walk naturally and easily.
When your attention drifts away from the sensations of walking and breathing, take notice of those thoughts, moods, or emotions without judgment and gently guide your awareness back to the present moment, back to the walking.
Continue this mindful walking for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes or longer if comfortable.
When it’s time to end the meditation, allow yourself to come to a gentle halt. Pause—once again experiencing yourself standing still—as you feel the earth beneath your feet. Take a few deep breaths as this session comes to close. Slowly return to your regular activity.