The Magic of Mindful Walking
Meditation. A cross legged, ‘ohhmming’ practise right? Not entirely true. Many of us think of meditation as simply sitting quietly with our eyes shut. However this is not the case. There are many forms of meditation, each with their own list of benefits and some which will suit more than others. As summer approaches, and you’re at work gazing out at the blazing sunshine perhaps the last thing that you want to do is go home, sit down and meditate.
So, why not try walking and meditating? Also known as mindful walking or ‘Kinhin’ in Buddhist practise, this form of meditation allows you to be out in nature whilst becoming consciously aware of the environment around you - as you may have guessed we keep our eyes open for this one! To give it a go, first start by simply standing still and becoming aware of your body and how it feels. Do you feel any tension anywhere? How are your feet feeling against the ground? How is your posture?
Bring your weight into your heels and notice any subtle movements that are keeping you standing upright. Bend your knees slightly and bring your weight into your hips, making this your centre of balance. Next take a few deep breaths, allowing your belly to fully expand as you fill it with lots of lovely, fresh air.
When you are ready, begin walking at a slower pace than usual. As you walk really feel the contact your feet have with the ground… I like to think that I am ‘kissing the earth with my feet.’ With each step, feel the roll from your heel to toe and enjoy the gentle rhythm. Keep your focus soft, looking ahead and notice all the beautiful things around you. Perhaps, you see a tiny caterpillar, a tiny, glittering cobweb or something more intricate and concrete, like the multitude of artwork the cracks in the pavement create.
In fact, this practise may even be a great way to begin enjoying your commute to and from work. As your step off the train or climb out of your car, take a few deep breaths and ground yourself before starting the practise of mindfully walking to work. You may be amazed at the magnitude of marvellous discoveries you make; how many things you’ve previously been unaware of that now seem so obvious in this new state of mind. If your mind wanders to a train of thoughts at anytime, acknowledge them without judging and then simply bring your awareness back to your feet and your breath.
Not only will you begin to notice all the tiny, beautiful things that we are surrounded by in our everyday lives but there are also many benefits to this practise. Mindful walking can…
- Get you out of your head!
- Help you get to know your own body and appreciate how truly amazing it is.
- Help to slow you down, in a fast paced world.
- Improve your concentration.
- Increase your awareness.
- Improve your ability to live in the present moment.
- Connect you to your environment and the great outdoors.
It has also been scientifically shown to reduce levels of mental stress. This was shown by a study in 2011, which looked at the effect of mindful walking on psychological stress, measured by Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale (CPSS). The results found that when compared to a control group, the group assigned to mindful walking experienced a reduction in psychological stress and an improvement in their quality of life.
So, what are you waiting for? Get outside and get walking!
I guarantee that you will come back with a smile of your face, and a bounce in your step.
Happy walking wanderers.
Link to Research: CLICK HERE
By Jadine Hocking for ‘go meditate!’
If you are interested in finding out more about mindful walking or meditation why not come along to Falmouth TM & Meditation Group. You can contact Kellie Gilmour on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or visit:
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