What Is Walking Meditation?
Walking meditation is simply a form of meditation done while walking. It is those walks you go for when you want to clear your head and get refreshed. The entire process of alternating steps with your left and right feet during these walks is deeply meditative. Walking meditation entails being mindful of your natural movement while you walk.
8 Benefits of Walking Meditation
Connects you More Deeply with your Environment
Mindful walking will help your senses get more actively engaged and help you feel more connected to your environment, thereby cultivating situational awareness.
Helps to Commune with Nature
Meditative walking is a great way to commune with the natural world. This is highly effective in healing your body, mind, and soul. Try walking through parks, mountain paths, forests, or near bodies of water, and immerse yourself in the primordial purity that also exists at the core of your being.
Improves Health and Well-Being
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for the body and a perfect way to improve the mind. You might be exhausted from the day’s troubles, but you can still walk for a couple of minutes. Walking meditation helps people with depression and anxiety deal with their conditions better. People who go on regular meditative walks have a better lifestyle and increased energy levels.
Improves Blood Sugar Levels and Circulation
Walking meditation has a positive effect on blood sugar levels and circulation, particularly in people with type-2 diabetes. Studies have shown that going on mindful walking for 30 minutes, thrice a week for three months can improve the blood sugar levels and blood circulation of diabetics.
Improves Sleep Quality
Walking improves flexibility and reduces muscle tension, making you feel so much better physically. This reduces feelings of stress and anxiety, leaving you with a calm, clear mind so you can get dome good, deep sleep every night.
Practicing mindfulness will bring more clarity and focus to your thought patterns, and eventually stimulate creativity. Going on meditative walks will help you explore new problem-solving skills and cultivate new ideas.
Boosts Blood Flow
Walking meditation is highly effective for people who sit for long periods, as it helps to get the blood flowing, especially to the legs. It also eases feelings of lethargy.
Walking after eating boosts digestion, particularly when you feel heavy. The movement from the walk will help your food move through your digestive tract. This will go a long way to prevent constipation.
5 Ways to Practice Walking Meditation
Find a Good Location
An ideal location is vital if you desire to have a meditative walk. A pathway without distractions would be ideal for walking meditation. You`ll particularly enjoy your walks on roads that are not busy. Choose a location where you can go back and forth for 10 to 20 steps: this could be indoors or out in nature, however, ensure it is relatively empty to keep distractions off.
Be Aware of Each Step
While on a meditative walk, you should observe each step that you take. Take note of simple movements like how you lift your feet, how you take it forward, how you place it on the ground, how you feel the touch of the ground on your feet, and how your body weight shifts from one leg to another.
Maintain an Appropriate Speed
Walk calmly, almost as if you have no destination. Be sure to maintain a natural pace, and just keep it slow and steady. This way, you can better observe your movements and, in the process, have a better awareness of your body.
Position your Hands and Arms
When you first begin your mindful walk, one of the first challenges you may have is deciding what to do with your arms. Feel free to choose whatever works best for you. You could keep them clasped behind, in front, or leave them hanging on the sides.
Balancing your focus during meditative walks is quite important. You could either focus on the sensations you feel in your body or choose something you consider fascinating to focus on. You may also observe your breath, the movements of your body as you take each step, or the movements of a tree as its leaves sway. Your focus will drift sometimes, however, try to be in control as often as you can.
Differences Between Sitting and Walking Meditation
- You can easily adapt walking mediation to your daily activities as you go about the day`s business, however, sitting meditation requires some time set aside for it.
- Walking meditation requires you to keep your eyes open, however, you are advised to close your eyes during sitting meditation.
- Unlike sitting meditation, walking meditation does not really require you to withdraw your attention from the outside world.
- Because there is almost no motion during sitting meditation, you don`t need to observe the sensations of your body as you do in walking meditation.
Fascinating Facts About Walking
- Brisk walking lowers blood pressure, reduces body fat, and increases high-density lipoprotein.
- Humans became bipedal four to six million years ago.
- Scientists believe that humans started walking on two legs so they could carry goods better and utilize energy more efficiently.
- Health experts advise walking 6,000 steps a day to improve health and 10,000 steps a day to lose weight.
- The first robots to walk had six legs.
- Walking three times or more a week for over half an hour could save $330 a year in health care costs.
- To lose weight by walking, you should take longer, moderately-paced steps.
- An average city block is equivalent to 200 steps.
- A major difference between walking and running is the amount of time each foot touches the ground.
- While walking, at least a foot is in contact with the ground at any given time, with longer contact than while running.
- While running, foot contact with the ground is less than walking.
- Most babies begin to walk when they`re 13 months old, and some start as early as 9 or 10 months, while some may begin as late as 15 or 16 months.
- One can detect a woman’s sexual history from the way she walks.
- Walking decreases the risk of heart attack, type-2 diabetes, and bone fracture.
- Brisk walking improves cancer survival rates and reduces stress and depression levels.
- Walking briskly for a mile in 15 minutes burns about the same amount of calories as jogging the same distance in 8.5 minutes.
- Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the United States.
- Younger people walk more than older age groups.
- Inactivity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., coming after tobacco use.
- A study found that women who walked at least 1.5 hours per week had better cognitive function than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week.
- Mortality rates among retired men who walked less than one mile per day were almost twice as much as those who walked more than 2 miles per day.
- Walking prevents osteoporosis.
- Postmenopausal women who walk around a mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk less.
- The average human walking speed is about five kilometers per hour.
- Power walking and race walking are the two most common types of walking.
- Walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer.