Walking Mindfully

Photo by Ana Carolina from Pexels

So here in Ontario, Canada COVID-19 restrictions are starting to lift as we are getting even closer to stage 3 of reopening. With that comes all-new stressors – will my kids go back to school? will my office be reopening? will I have to get back on public transportation? will we have to go back to spending money on commuting and daycare? With all of this going on in my head 24/7 I really needed a way to move all while calming my mind and I found it – walking meditation.

Walking meditation is practicing meditation while walking.  It can bring you joy and peace while you practice it.  Take short steps in complete relaxation; go slowly with a smile on your lips, with your heart open to an experience of peace.  You can feel truly at ease with yourself.  Your steps can be those of the healthiest, most secure person on earth.  All sorrows and worries can drop away while you are walking.  To have peace of mind, to attain self-liberation, learn to walk in this way. 

Thich Nhat Hanh

When I started to learn about meditation I came across the term walking meditation but didn’t think much of it, I was so focused on learning to sit still with my breath. Recently though I realized that I needed to get out of the house – quarantine life and being stuck inside with the same people day in and day out was starting to get to me (if my family is reading this please don’t take it personally – I adore you all).

It was time to get out of bed early and try something new – practicing meditation and mindfulness all while walking through the park in my neighbourhood.

About a week and a half ago I began setting my alarm for 6:30 to get up, put in my ear buds, and get out for my walk while listening to the mindful walking meditation on the Calm app by Tamara Levitt. The mediation teaches you to walk intentionally and carefully aware of each step that you take and all your surroundings. With every step you’re practicing being fully present in that moment with all of your being. I began paying attention to what’s going on around me rather than what’s swirling in my head and that’s something I really struggled with, and still do.

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

When practicing walking meditation you focus on every sensation associated with the experience of walking instead of allowing your mind to wander, dwell on the past, or worry about the future. You pay attention to the sensation of each foot as it touches the ground, how your limbs move as you walk, the smells, sounds, and colours of your surroundings, and of course each breath, in and out. The goal of walking meditation is the same as many forms of meditation — to focus on present moment.

While this isn’t replacing my usual practice, it’s been nice to add it to my routine and it’s something that I will definitely continue with, even after we are completely out of quarantine.

If traditional meditation – sitting still on a cushion and focusing on your breath – isn’t your thing, you may want to give walking meditation a try!

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