I’d like to introduce you to a Walking Meditation technique that can be extremely effective when the idea of “sitting and doing nothing” causes you to feel stressed.
With most meditation techniques, you need to be sitting still with your eyes closed but walking meditation can be practiced anytime, when you’re “on the go” with a zillion things to do.
Why practice walking meditation?
It’s a form of mindfulness meditation, where you are fully present and engaged in the moment.
It’s a beautiful chance to notice the little things, that most people pass by. The reason why… because they’re in such a hurry and their minds are in the past (what they want to re-live or fix) or in the future (what they anticipate, for better or for worse).
When you’re being mindful and your awareness is really switched on, you notice the precious little things like a purple flower between the cracks of the concrete you walk on every day, the glistening of the dew on the grass as the rising sun shines its rays, or that beautiful and unexpected smile the stranger you just passed by gave you.
These small delightful moments add immeasurable richness to your life, and they serve as reminders that right here, right now, you have the opportunity to choose!
To choose happiness over anger or sorrow, to choose forgiveness over revenge, to choose a win-win compromise instead of an “I win, you lose” ultimatum!
And all of this, without having to be still! Ironically, physical movement can actually stimulate mental stillness. Athletes know this. They get “in the Zone” (in that beautiful state of flow) when their bodies are in motion and they are focused on squeezing every bit of performance out of their muscles.
Also a simple 10 minute walk carries with it amazing health benefits. Listen to what the professionals say about the magic of simply ‘walking’ here.
Doing a walking meditation is simple. There is no special way to walk and no special way to breathe.
Here are a few simple but highly effective tips to get you started with your Walking Meditation:
You can listen to meditation music while you walk, hence fitting in a walking meditation. By doing this, you can knock two things out at the same time.
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Walking meditation is about being an observer.
Imagine that you’ve been transported into this new body and you’re new to this whole walking thing.
That it’s a brand new experience for you. Really get into the experience of walking.
- What movements do you have to think about? Which ones are automatic?
- What are your senses telling you?
- How are you being impacted by your environment (weather, traffic, interactions with other people or animals, sounds, smells, light level, etc.)?
If your mind starts to wander, it’s okay! Just bring your attention back to the act of walking. Be truly fascinated by it. Look down at your feet and watch yourself effortlessly put one foot in front of the other. Delight in how amazing it is that you’re balancing your entire body weight on these two small appendages! How incredible that your muscles know exactly what to do, to propel you forward!
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Another technique is to say a mantra while you’re walking, and focus your attention on the mantra. You can still look around, but you don’t let yourself get lost in thought. Any short, simple mantra will do. You can even use a short affirmation such as “I love myself,” “Thank you for this life” or a single word – whatever feels right in the moment.
This is an incredible opportunity to get into a deep meditative state simply through the repetition of the movement and the mantra.
When the majority of the time you are so busy or lost in thought that you don’t take the time to be aware and relaxed, there is no way to measure what you miss out on.
So “be here, now,” as you walk from the car to the office, as you take a 10-minute power walk at lunch, as you walk your dog.
Really be there as you take an evening stroll to catch the sunset.
Explore and luxuriate in these magnificent moments!
Let your worries go as you revel in the miraculous abilities of your brain to orchestrate every nuance of your physical movements.
Really take in the many tiny wonders that are all around you and have always been there!
Bonus: this technique marries a daily workout with a daily mindfulness practice, for physical strength and stamina, mental focus, emotional resilience and general bliss!
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. Brene Brown
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