Hello and welcome to Motivation and Mindset Mondays! Today, let’s talk about practicing the art of walking meditation. The art of walking meditation is not as popular as traditional methods of meditation where you sit down in a form of a cross-legged position. However, walking meditation can prove to be more accessible and easier to renew your inspiration and energy.
The Art of Meditation
When you engage in walking meditation, you’ll be using some of the same principles as regular meditative practice.
Here are some tips to use when beginning with meditation:
- Schedule yourself plenty of time, at least 30 minutes to an hour.
- Focus all of your attention on your breath.
- Try to avoid making noise as it may distract you.
- Concentrate solely on the present moment.
- Go with the flow.
- Follow the energy that your mind is giving you.
Introduction To Walking Meditation
Walking meditation differs from regular meditation in a few core ways. The most obvious is the fact that you’re walking instead of staying still. This is beneficial for those who think more clearly when they’re moving around.
Also, when you practice walking meditation, you can eventually engage in meditation as you complete day-to-day tasks. This is useful because you won’t always have enough time for a standard meditation session.
Use these strategies to enhance your experience as you begin walking meditation:
1. Start by standing. Don’t begin walking right away. Stay calm and give yourself time to get into a steady pattern of breathing. Once you’ve achieved this balance, you can begin walking. This stage can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes; just do what feels right for you at the time.
2. Choose your location. Have an idea in mind about where you’re going to walk before you start the practice. If you don’t have a plan in mind beforehand, you may be too distracted thinking about where you’re headed.
- It’s up to you where you want to walk, but choose a place that tends to be calm instead of busy. You can walk in a park and take in nature, or you can even walk in circles in a large empty room.
3. Watch your pace. Your pace will probably vary from session to session, and that’s okay. Try starting out faster than intended, then slow down to a pace that makes you feel balanced and almost like your body is doing the work automatically.
4. End your session. Most sessions last about 30 minutes to an hour. This should be enough time for you to enjoy the meditative practice as well as get some exercise in the process. To end your session, slow down and stand up straight for a few minutes. Focus on your breathing just as you did at the beginning of your session.
Bringing Meditation Into Everyday Tasks
It’s a good idea to master the art of walking meditation before trying to bring your regular meditative practice into your everyday living. Doing so will give you a better idea about what it’s like to meditate while your body is in motion.
While you won’t be able to meditate while you’re talking or engaging in activities that you’re not familiar with, you can start to make it a part of your daily routine, whether it be in the mornings during your commute or during your lunch break.
Watch Your Emotions
Walking meditation and regular meditation have the power to get you in touch with your true emotions. Some people are unsure about what they’re feeling and may end up repressing feelings or acting out in anger. Your emotions will generally rise up during a walking meditation session, which is why it’s a good idea for you to engage in these meditation sessions often.
With continued practice, you’ll find a powerful tool in your life that can calm, refresh, inspire, and motivate you wherever you go!
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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