What is Walking Meditation?  

Living in London can be very overwhelming and I often need to focus on walking meditation to calm that London mentality.  

Walking meditation is a meditation method that involves a slow and mindful walking experience, typically practiced on nature walks and but also good when in a fast-paced city. The person taking part in this meditation activity is able to fully be present in that moment in time, which acts as a form of meditation.   
 
It largely focuses on the contact between the feet and the ground but also factors in awareness of the body (can I feel the wind on my face? How does my skin feel? Is this affecting my skin temperature? Am I breathing quicker?), feelings, thoughts and emotions (am I irritated? Do I feel calm? Am I in the present?), which slowly helps to integrate this practice into daily life.  


 
How to do it (with shoes)  

  • Relax your muscles and start in a standing position and feel how your feet feel in your shoes. Are they tight? Do they feel restricted? Are they snuggly? Are they warm? Are you wearing socks? How does the fabric feel? 
  • Lift your left foot up off the floor and move forward, transferring your weight across to your right side. Slowly press the ball of your left foot on the ground, letting the ball of you feet and toes follow. 
  • One your left foot is firmly on the ground and has found balance, lift your right leg off the floor, starting with your heel and feel the pressure on your toes before you fully lift them up too.  
  • Repeat this pattern assessing how your feet feel and how the ground feels. Do you feel balanced? Do you feel wobbly? Is there any weight pressure? Where can you feel the most tension? 

 
How to do it (without shoes)  

  • Relax your muscles and start in a standing position and feeling every on the floor. Bare feet work best. What does the surface feel like on your skin? Is it grainy? Is it cold? Is it squishy? Is it hard? 
  • Lift your left foot up off the floor and move forward, transferring your weight across to your right side. Slowly press the ball of your left foot on the ground, letting the ball of you feet and toes follow. 
  • One your left foot is firmly on the ground and has found balance, lift your right leg off the floor, starting with your heel and feel the pressure on your toes before you fully lift them up too.  
  • Repeat this pattern assessing how your feet feel and how the ground feels against your skin. Do you feel balanced? Do you feel wobbly? Is there any weight pressure? Where can you feel the most tension?  

Time it takes

Meditation is different for different people. Sometime I spend 7 minutes meditating and feeling peaceful, other times I spend 20 in a meditative state before I feel at one.

When you are on a long country walk with scenic fields and blooming flowers, it is easier to appreciate the world around you so why not take that bit longer? I’d recommend 10 minutes, and then perhaps a bit more if you can.

When you’re in the city, if you can do 10 minutes of walking meditation- fantastic! If it becomes a bit too overwhelming, give a few minutes a go each time. Slowly, you’ll be able to recognise what you are capable of more clearly and what is good for you.
 

How fast can I go?

Of course you can sprint if you want to, but according to Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, smaller steps are better to meditate in this way. I would definitely agree with this – you can just feel and assess so much more taking smaller more noticeable steps.

For the thriving city goers, integrating walking meditation into your daily routine, even if it’s for a few minutes, will help change your outlook on your commute around the city. Simply appreciating both the world around you and how your body is feeling is always an incredible learning experience.

Learning to listen to your body and be mindful of your body in this meditation walking experience is a great way to both learn yourself and be one with the world around you. Give it a go, you only have something beautiful to gain.

 

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