The practice of meditation has been around for centuries. It is deeply rooted in various cultures. In addition to its various physical and mental benefits, meditation has also been known to bring intellectual, emotional, and relationship healing. While all of us know that the practice of meditation is an important and beneficial tool in helping us lead a happy and satisfying life, a lot of us get stuck at where to start. Most people believe that meditation is sitting in a cross-legged position and trying to evade your thoughts consistently. But it does not always have to be like that. A good option for anyone who finds it difficult to find stillness in a seated meditation is the walking meditation.Walking meditation is a kind of moving meditation or one where you move your body. Typically, in walking meditation, a person walks in a circle, back and forth in a straight line, in a labyrinth, or over a longer distance. The pace of the walk is slow and can vary. Often, practitioners practice mindful walking meditation in between seated meditation sessions and breathing practices. The practice has its origins in Buddhism.This meditation practice is great for beginners since it involves the act of walking which is a familiar part of our daily experience. The practice is more than just strolling. It is about being aware of the body and its various physical sensations as we move. Walking meditation has many possible benefits and may help you feel more balanced, grounded, and serene. Let us talk about the various walking meditation benefits a little more.

Connects you to the environment:

When practicing walking meditation, all our senses are engaged actively in the experience of walking. During the practice, we are mindful of the earth beneath our feet, the sounds, smells, sights we experience, the air flowing in and out of our lungs. It helps an individual in communicating with nature and can be a healing experience for the body, mind, and soul. The practice allows us to remember the earth that sustains us and develop gratitude for it. This awareness of nature during mindful walking helps us in connecting more deeply with the environment.

Enhances clarity of thoughts:

Practicing walking meditation outdoors can help a great deal in breaking out of mental fog or a perpetual train of thought. A lot many times, a change of scenery may help a person in shifting their awareness out of their conditioned thoughts and adopt a new perspective. This promotes clarity of thoughts.

Enhances positive body image:

Moving mindfully works on establishing a deeper connection between the body and the mind. It helps us embrace our physical selves as it moves through space. Meditation through natural surroundings expands our awareness of our body and the way we carry ourselves and live in our bodies. It works on inculcating ease and comfort in our bodies.

Connects you to the present moment:

As we walk mindfully, we become more and more aware and the mind grows calm and quiet. Our awareness slowly transcends beyond the walking, breathing, and the surroundings into a bountiful field of awareness. Our awareness releases us from the guilt of the past or the fear of the future and comes down to grounding us in what we are experiencing in that present moment.

Expands everyday mindfulness:

Spending a few minutes in walking meditation on a regular basis, leads the benefits of the practice to spill out of just the routine into other areas of our life. It infuses us with deeper awareness and mindfulness in everything we do.

Inspires creativity:

Mindfulness walking may help in bringing focus and clarity to your thoughts. Mindfulness practices have been known to enhance creativity and innovation. It boosts problem-solving skills and helps a great deal in the cultivation of new ideas. It switches on divergent thinking, improves attention, and nurtures courage and resilience.

Boosts blood flow:

Walking meditation is very helpful for people who sit for long periods at work. Mindful walking gets the body moving and helps the blood to flow through the body efficiently, especially the legs. This helps in alleviating the feelings of stagnancy or sluggishness. Regularly practicing mindful walking helps in raising our energy levels that may have dipped down due to sitting for extended periods and boosts the blood circulation.

Improves digestion:

Walking can help in the efficient digestion of food. When practiced after lunch, it can immensely boost the digestion, especially if you are experiencing any digestive issues. The body movement due to walking helps the food to move through the digestive tract effectively and may also help in the prevention of constipation.

Reduces anxiety:

Meditation walking helps immensely in lowering our stress levels and anxiety. Studies have shown that the practice effectively reduces anxiety levels when combined with sessions of seated meditation. It keeps the body active while improving mood.

Improves sleep quality:

Research says that regularly indulging in moderate exercise can have a positive effect on sleep quality. Walking regularly helps in improving flexibility and reducing muscle tension. Additionally, the practice helps in reducing stress and anxiety, and calms the mind, enhancing better sleep is a leading healthcare service provider with an in-house pharmacy and diagnostics setup for full-body health check-ups and doctor consultations. You can consult with their health coach and get a personalized diet, fitness, and mindfulness plan to help you achieve your health goals.There is no reason to not add this zen walking meditation to your routine. Here are a few tips to help you get started with the practice and be consistent with it.

  • Look for a peaceful place, devoid of any traffic or loud noises, where you can walk slowly without obstacles. Indoor walks may also be a good option as there are fewer chances of distractions.
  • Take a minute before beginning the walk, to anchor yourself in the moment. Bring your attention to your body. Take note of all the different sensations within your body as well as your thoughts and feelings.
  • Start walking slowly, direct your attention towards the movements of your feet and legs, and the motion of your body. The pace of your walk should be slow. Do not be too rigid, but walk naturally with an open heart and go with the flow.
  • Observe the physical sensations and the feelings and thoughts that crop up as your walk. Notice these events and then go back to paying attention to your practice of walking.
  • Make sure you walk for at least 10 minutes a day.

Some people like to add music for mindfulness to their meditation practice to help them feel more relaxed. Another small variation one can try is plugging into some guided walking meditation in order to practice bringing their attention to the present moment.Like any other practice or routine, it is very important to stay consistent and practice walking meditation every day, even if for a few minutes, to experience its benefits in an optimum way. With regular meditation practice, one can progress towards holistically experiencing genuine joy and well-being.

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August 1, 2022
Healthy Mind

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