Walking meditation has origins in Buddhism and can be used as part of a mindfulness practice.

The technique has many possible benefits and may help you to feel more grounded, balanced, and serene. It also helps you to develop a different awareness of your surroundings, body, and thoughts.

What is a walking meditation practice?

Typically, during walking meditation you walk in a circle, back and forth in a straight line or in a labyrinth. It’s also possible to do a walking meditation over a longer distance.

The pace is slow and can vary depending on the specific technique. Often, practitioners do a walking meditation session between seated meditations.

Examples of walking meditations include:

  • kinhin
  • theravada
  • vipassana

Techniques can be as detailed as breaking down each step into six parts or simply strolling mindfully in a space. You may incorporate your breath or a mantra.

Below you’ll find the many possible benefits of meditative walking.

1. Boost blood flow 

Walking meditation is often used by people who sit for long periods. The walking practice helps to get the blood flowing, especially to the legs. It helps to alleviate feelings of sluggishness or stagnancy.

Mindful walking is also a great way to boost blood circulation and raise your energy levels if you’re doing seated work for extended periods.

2. Improve digestion 

Walking after eating is a fantastic way to boost digestion, especially if you’re feeling heavy or full.

Movement helps food to move through your digestive tract and may also prevent constipation.

3. Improves well-being 

When possible, take a walk in nature, like a park, garden, or place with trees, which may enhance your overall feelings of well-being and help you feel more balanced.

The practice of forest bathing is popular in Japan for its pros like relaxation and enhanced brain activity.

4. Improves sleep quality 

To get the benefits of exercise, it’s not necessary to do an intense workout. Research from 2019 showed that regular moderate exercise has a positive effect on sleep quality.

Walking may help to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension so you feel better physically.

Plus, you’ll be more likely to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, especially if you walk in the morning. All of these benefits can leave you with a calm, clear mind so you’re ready to drift off and sleep deeply each night.

5. Inspires creativity 

Practicing mindfulness may bring you more clarity and focus to your thought patterns, which in turn can stimulate creativity.

Make mindful walking a part of your day 

Here are a few tips to help you get started with a consistent walking meditation routine:

Be aware of the present moment

Staying mindful of each moment is a habit that takes time to cultivate.

As often as you can, bring your mind to the present moment when you’re walking at any point in your day. Focus on the sounds around you, your breath, or any bodily sensations. Tune into your thoughts and observe them as they come and go.

See how the practice varies when you’re walking to a destination in a rush versus walking slowly.

Practice seated meditation too

Walking meditation is often used in conjunction with seated meditation. So you may find it’s worth learning seated meditation as well as walking meditation.

Seated and walking meditation tips to try:

  • Do a 5- to 10-minute session of meditation followed by walking meditation, or vice versa.
  • Notice the differences between the two practices and think about which one you prefer and why.
  • As you progress, you can increase the duration of each session.

Slow down

Often when our mind is moving quickly, we move in a hurry, too. Slow down your pace for a few minutes even when you find yourself short on time.

Notice if you have any resistance as you tune into your breath and body. Breathe at a slow, steady pace.

Walk within the time you have, no matter how brief.

Stay accountable

Discuss your practice and goals with a teacher, therapist, or friend. Touch base regularly to see if you’ve developed any insights and how you’re progressing. Together you can determine how to deepen your practice. You can also write things down in a log or journal and use this as a tool to reflect on your experience or progress.

If you would like to seek the professional help of a clarity breathwork practitioner and registered professional counselor, please send an email to info@evolvevancouver.ca

DISCLAIMER: These posts should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, physical or psychiatric condition. Information shared via posts does not replace professional healthcare advice specific to your condition and needs. If you are unsure whether you would benefit from implementing tools discussed in these posts, please contact your healthcare provider.