Hello and welcome to Motivation and Mindset Mondays! Today, let’s talk about walking meditation. When you think about meditation, you may automatically picture yourself sitting down, but meditating while walking is another useful option.
Walking meditation is a refined form of mindfulness meditation that involves walking slowly and focusing on your breathing. Walking meditation is thought to be especially effective because it is accessible to everyone, including those who are not comfortable sitting still for long periods. It can also be done daily, which makes it a convenient way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. Walking meditation is also an effective alternative to other forms of meditation, since it can be done at any pace, allowing you to choose how quickly you want to practice.
Consider these benefits of walking meditation and suggestions for how to get started.
Benefits of Walking Meditation
1. Learn a popular technique.
Walking meditation is a common variation that you’re likely to encounter at many retreat centers. By getting acquainted with this method, you’ll be ready to join in.
2. Get off to a good start.
Beginners may find it uncomfortable to sit for long periods. Taking a stroll provides a different approach to launching a meditation practice.
3. Reduce agitation.
When stress builds up, you may prefer to keep moving around. Rather than skipping a session completely, just stay on your feet.
4. Manage fatigue.
It’s easy to nod off if you were up all night finishing a report or nursing a sick child. Remaining erect is likely to keep you more alert until you can get the rest you need.
5. Exercise more.
Meditation can be good for your body as well as your mind. Every bit of physical activity counts when it comes to staying fit. A walking meditation of 15 minutes to an hour is a gentle, but effective, workout.
6. Integrate mindfulness into ordinary activities.
One purpose of meditation is to develop a clearer mind that you can rely on all day long. When you get used to walking while meditating, you’ll become more skilled at generating positive thoughts in any setting.
How to Practice Walking Meditation
1. Create a path.
Lay out a route for yourself. You could walk around your living room or visit a local park. If you stick to an area you know well, it will be easier to minimize distractions.
2. Focus on your feet.
Start out by noting each step. Over time, you’ll become more aware of the many individual movements involved. Imagine that your soles are caressing the earth.
3. Pace yourself.
Most people find that a slower pace is conducive to becoming more deliberate and attentive. You may want to start out walking the way you usually do and gradually ease up.
4. Lower your eyes.
Try keeping your eyes half shut and softly aimed at the ground a couple of feet ahead of you. If you’re in a spot where there are too many obstacles to do this, relax and enjoy the scenery.
5. Position your arms.
Lower your shoulders and let your arms hang easily along the side of your body. Clasp your hands gently in front of your lower abdomen.
6. Welcome a smile to your face.
Let a smile well up from within. Visualize pleasant and soothing images like flower gardens and snowy mountains.
7. Quiet down.
Leave your earphones at home. Put aside your plans for the evening. Observe the stillness in your mind.
8. Take full breaths.
Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Feel your abdomen rise and fall. Gradually synchronize your footsteps and your breath in whatever pattern is natural and sustainable.
9. Prepare for sitting meditation.
Walking meditation is an ideal transition to a sitting meditation. A brief walking meditation session will help you clear your head and dissolve tension in your body so you can concentrate better.
10. Alternate between walking and sitting.
Another good use for walking meditation is to make it a supplement to your sitting practice. If your foot gets a cramp or you just want to move around, meditating on your feet will help you extend your practice time.
Diversify your practice by meditating while walking. It will help you apply mindfulness to more of your daily routine so that you can enjoy greater peace and contentment.
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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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