What is Walking Meditation? Amazing tips & techniques with 10 Proven Health Benefits
We always think of a quieter plan & a person sitting in an erect position, when meditation comes to our mind. Meditation is often practiced to attain enlightenment, mindfulness, releasing stress, recovering from depression and getting the inner peace.
The concept of meditation started back in 1500 BC. When the saints used to meditate for a long time on mountains to have self-realization. Meditation plays a crucial role in all the religions, be it Hinduism or Buddhism.
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Looking carefully at the idols of Lord Shiva, Mahavira and Bodhidharma, we get to know the time from when the meditation began. It has been said, that Lord Mahavira has attained enlightenment in meditating posture only.
Table of Contents
- 6 Popular Types of Meditation Practices
- Definition- Walking Meditation
- Walking meditation VS Seated meditation
- Points to Remember before you begin with Walking meditation
- Amazing tips to help you with Walking Meditation
- What to do when your mind wanders?
- Proven Health Benefits of Mindful Walking/ Walking Meditation
- The Final Verdict
Meditation not only mean sitting and concentrating at a quiet place, it can be done in six different ways:
6 Popular Types of Meditation Practices
- Mindfulness meditation.
- Spiritual meditation.
- Focused meditation.
- Movement meditation.
- Mantra meditation.
- Transcendental meditation.
Definition- Walking Meditation
The way of meditation is changing with the changing times. You no longer have to sit at a quiet and boring place for meditation. All you have to do is walk in a circle, back and forth in a straight line or in a labyrinth. Long time of sitting meditation, popularly known as Zazen can be clubbed with walking meditation.
Like sitting meditation, walking meditation is also helpful in developing calmness, concentration power and embodied awareness.
Walking meditation VS seated meditation
Walking meditation can also be done with Zazen. All you have to do is to practice a 5 to 10 minutes session of seated meditation followed by a small session of walking meditation and vice versa.
After taking a small session of both, you have to notice and find out the best one for yourself. Once you find out the best method for yourself, you can gradually increase the duration of your preferred type. Before starting with the walking meditation, you need to have a great knowledge of how its been practiced.
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Points to Remember before you begin with Walking Meditation
Picking up a place to practice walking meditation
Before choosing walking meditation as a means of mindfulness, you have to pick up a place that is quite and free from traffic. It can be your home, a garden or a park. The place selected should be free of obstacles so that you don’t get stumbled.
If you are going for a park, you have to take care of other’s way also. Therefore, practicing walking meditation indoors or at terrace is a good option. A place without distractions is always a best choice.
Get started– What is Walking Meditation?
As soon as you get the perfect place, begin with your walking meditation. You need to take a deep breathe in order to concentrate on your body. Try to feel the sensations that are taking place inside your body. Try to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings.
Unlike seated meditation, you do not have to concentrate on your breath, rather you have to focus on your feet and legs. Then, the motion of your body as it starts, move from a slower to faster rate. Once you start paying attention to the movement of your feet and legs, you have to start walking in a circular or straight path back and forth.
This walk can be of good 10 minutes followed by stretching or a small break.
Maintain the Mindfulness
While you are walking, keep your focus on bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts and the mood. it is not necessary to make a list of your thoughts, rather you should analyze these emotions in your mind.
You have to take the decision as to which thought you have to keep and which one to reject. Keep your mind with full of positivity and gradually you will notice that your are getting directed to the calmness that you were looking for.
Be mindful of speed and posture
While meditating, you have to let loose your arms and hands in a way that they swing on your sides. Now, hold them behind your back or join them around the height of your diaphragm in front of the body. Similarly, the muscles of your legs should be relaxed while walking.
You should not be forcing your legs to move on the ground. The movement should be comfortable and natural. Body should be straight and upright while walking. The pace of your walk should be slow to extremely slow. This can be a bit challenging at first, but you will get used to it slowly.
Trying something new for the very first time sometimes get difficult. One needs to be dedicated towards the goal in order to achieve the desired results. The same goes for walking meditation also. Walking meditation is not that easy as it seems. One needs to have a great concentration power to start with it.
Amazing tips to help you with Walking Meditation
Focus at present moment
While walking, just focus on sounds around you, feel your breath and bodily sensations. Dive deep into your thoughts and try to observe them as they come into your mind. Try to see the difference between walking in a rush towards a destination and walking while meditating.
Practice seated meditation
Choosing walking meditation as a way of attaining mindfulness doesn’t mean that you cannot practice any other meditation technique. Along with walking meditation, you could also practice seated meditation for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Slow down– What is Walking Meditation?
We often tend to walk fast while diving into our thoughts. You have to slow down your walking pace in order to focus on yourself properly.
You should discuss your achievements and failures with your friend, a therapist or a teacher in order to keep the accountability. Discussion helps you in achieving your goals and overcoming your failures. Together you will be able to keep a check on your progress and deviation.
What to do when your mind wanders?
The hardest thing for a person while walking is to concentrate and to not let their mind wander. Initially, you will face a lot of problem in focusing. But don’t worry and do not lose hope if it doesn’t fall in place at first. Keep practicing as practice makes a man perfect.
If you feel that your mind is wandering, simply try to focus on your breathe and sensations. Gradually, you will find that you are attaining mindfulness.
Health benefits of Mindful Walking/ Walking Meditation
Boosts flow of blood
Walking meditation helps in blood circulation as it is usually practiced by the people who sit for quite a long time. One gets proper blood supply in veins especially in the legs, while walking.
Blood flow helps in transporting the hormones needed for the proper functioning of the body. Walking meditation helps in raising the energy level if you sit for a long period of time while working.
Helps in Improving Digestion
A short walk after having a meal to improve the process of digestion. Walking while meditating serves two purposes simultaneously i.e. improving the digestion as well as attaining the peace of mind.
Practicing this will also helps in preventing the problem of constipation.
Helps Reducing Anxiety Levels
According to a study conducted on young adults in 2017, it was observed that those who walked with meditating showed reduced symptoms of anxiety.
People who showed a great reduction in the anxiety levels either meditated, meditated before walking, or walked before meditating for a session of about 10 minutes.
Improves Blood Sugar Level and Circulation
People having type 2 diabetes can recover by the help of walking meditation as concluded in a small study conducted in 2016.
In the study, people who practiced traditional walking for 30 minutes, 3 times a week for 12 weeks were compared with the people practicing walking meditation, and it has been deduced that the people practicing mindful walking showed improvements in their blood sugar levels as they were feeling more relieved.
Alleviates depression– What is Walking Meditation?
When a person starts to age, it becomes necessary for him/her to remain physically fit and active, this can be done by exercising.
According to a study, conducted in 2014, it has been proved that older people had fewer symptoms of depression after practicing meditation 3 times a week for 12 weeks.
They were able to improve their blood pressure and also their fitness level, that was gained through walking. Although, there are other ways as well to alleviates depression apart from walking meditation.
Improves well-being of a person
While you walk in a garden or a park that has been surrounded by a lot of different flowers and birds chirping around, you automatically start feeling relaxed and relieved. Besides, walking meditation is considered as a health sunrise routine. This will improve your well-being as well as your overall feelings.
According to a study conducted in the year 2018, it has been proved that people who walked for 15 minutes in a bamboo forest felt less anxious and improve their blood pressure as well.
Improves Quality of Sleep
In this fast moving world, life has become stressful. As a result, people have started experiencing short or irregular sleep. Exercising has a great effect on our bodies as well as our sleep patterns.
According to research of 2019, it has been stated that moderate exercise has a positive effect on our sleep quality. Walking helps in increasing the flexibility of our body and reduces the muscle tension which in turn will make you feel physically better.
Morning walks are always recommended as they help you in reducing the feeling of stress and anxiety, rather makes you calm and helps in getting better sleep.
Make Exercising Enjoyable
People often use earphones to listen to the music they like while doing exercise. This helps in making the exercise more enjoyable.
According to a small study of 2018, it has been found that, people listened to a mindful recording while walking or exercising were able to enjoy themselves and the work out, they were involved in. Furthermore, they were able to notice the sensations arising in their bodies more effectively.
Practicing walking meditation helps you focusing on your thoughts which in turn makes you more creative.
A research from 2015 shows that there is a link between mindfulness and creativity. The more you are clear on your thoughts the more you will be able to think creatively.
Not only the creativity, but also the problem-solving skills are enhanced by the mindful walking.
Walking meditation helps in maintaining the balance of your body.
According to a 2019 study, an older woman was observed practicing walking meditation. It has been found that she was able to balance her body well as compared to other people of her age. As she was able to make a better balance between her ankle awareness and coordination.
The Final Verdict– What is Walking Meditation?
It is not necessary to practice the walking meditation at a slower pace, once you’re able to concentrate, you can meditate at a higher pace or while walking also. Keep in mind, while walking at a higher pace, your breath and pace of steps will change accordingly.
Gradually, you can include the meditation to your everyday life activities and can able to experience the calmness around yourself.