Walking Meditation

A walking meditation practice is a great starting place if you are new to meditation and just beginning with a practice. It is also a great choice for anyone who’s goal is to bring more mindful awareness into life’s every-day moments. Too often, we spend our lives just going through the motions and miss out on the opportunity to build real connection. Regardless of what style we choose meditation ultimately offers us a way to build inward connection which, in turn, allows us to connect in a more meaningful way with the world around us. It is my opinion that a walking practice may be the easiest and simplest starting place for beginning a practice.  In this post I will share how a walking practice is an excellent way to build every day mindful awareness into your day. I will also a touch on the benefits of the practice, outline a starting place and share my own personal experience and practice.


What is Walking Meditation And Why Do It?

Walking meditation is essentially mindful walking. Sounds simple right? 🙂 In learning how to walk mindfully, we learn to slow down as well as develop increased appreciation and awareness of what is in our immediate environment. We can then carry this new awareness into our life.


With a heightened awareness of our conscious moments, it then makes it easier to be more perceptive right in the moments when we may “check out” or be reactive. In a stressful moment it is natural human tendency to just ‘check out’ or not be present and ultimately, not face what is happening. Or alternatively even worse we respond by being reactive and not think before speaking. Through learning how to be more mindful and aware, you can in time grow in time to be less reactive in the moment. And perhaps most importantly in those moments that matter be more connected and available for the people you care about. A walking meditation essentially acts as bridge for bringing everyday mindfulness into your life. Everyday connection. And everyday peace.


Finally, many friends I talk to have a goal of beginning a seated practice but ultimately find it really hard to quiet their mind. A walking practice really makes a seated practice accessible. It can essentially act as a stepping stone for helping you begin a seated practice, if that is your ultimate goal.


How Is it Done?

Close your eyes for a moment and think about the last time you took a stroll around your neighborhood. What did you notice? If you cannot remember your experience, that is ok! A lot of people use walking purely as a way to process thoughts. They walk with streams of thoughts racing through their head. In this practice, you will instead pay attention to the walking itself. Your steps. Your feet connecting to the pavement. The walking itself will be your point of focus. Once you build the connection with your steps, you will then bring your focus inward to your breath. And then finally outward to your environment.


Basic Instructions:

  1. Find a Location where you are can limit distractions.
    1. A quiet park or a time of day when street traffic is minimal would be great.
    2. I like early morning or evening once folks have headed home from work.
  2. Before beginning, take a moment to Center Yourself.
    1. Close your eyes, and take in a few deep belly breaths.
    2. Breath in through the nose –> pause –> exhale slowly through the mouth –> pause
      1. With each inhale, set an intention to focus and commit to your practice
        1. Let yourself know that if you lose focus during your practice today, that is perfectly ok
          1. You can just bring your attention back, and begin again
      2. Exhale, release any stress or thoughts you do need, preparing to begin.
        1. Ask specifically to let go of anything which may keep you from connecting with your practice today.
      3. Continue to repeat this cycle until you begin to feel a calmness, and focus.
  3. Start your Steps
    • Begin walking one foot and then the other at your normal pace
    • Now, bring your awareness to the connection your feet are making to the ground
      1. Taking as much time as you need, begin building a connection with the earth beneath you. Really feel your feet connecting to the ground below.
        1. Once you feel your feet beneath you
          1. Say to yourself “My feet are connected to the Earth”
          2. “I am supported by the Earth”
    • Now, without judgment, take note of how quickly you are walking
      1. You may find you are walking rather quickly!
        1. Don’t worry, this is natural as our steps often reflect the speed of our thoughts
        2. Now that you’ve noticed this, you can slow down your steps which will, in turn, have the impact of naturally slowing down your thoughts and calming your mind
        3. Begin to slow down your steps.
          1. Say to yourself “I am going to slow down my steps”
    • Observe the breath: How quickly are you breathing?
      1. You may find now you now breathing quicker than you are walking
      2. Slow down your breath to match your steps
        1. Say to yourself “I am going to slow down my breathing”
      3. As you slow down your breathing, notice you begin to feel even calmer
    • Balance between right and left side
      1. How balanced do you feel between the right and the left side?
      2. Scan your right side – and then your left.
      3. As your right foot hits the ground and then the left is it even?
      4. Using your steps in combination with your breath, begin to walk at a pace that brings balance to the body on each side equally.
      5. If you find this tricky to do at first, focus purely on the inhale and the exhale. Inhale for a count of 4. Exhale for a count of 4. Rotating between the right and then the left side.
      6. Continue until you feel the right and the left are in balance
  4. Internal Awareness

    1. Scan your body
      1. Have your mind or energy calmed from the start of your walk?
      2. Has your breath slowed down?
      3. Do you feel more balanced between the right and left side?
      4. In observing your body if you find you are in need of more balance, continue send your focus and your breath to wherever you need. Wherever you feel you need to slow down. Wherever you may still be holding. Continue walking with internal focus until you reach a level of peace internally where you are satisfied.
      5. This will become easier in time.

  5. External Awareness
    1. Shift your attention outward: observe your external environment
      1. Take notice of your surroundings. What is your immediate observation?
      2. Do you perhaps find it easier to connect with what is around you?
      3. Choose something in your line of vision and make this your point of focus as you continue your walk. Some examples may be:
        1. A Tree
        2. A flower garden
        3. A laughing child
      4. What do you observe?
      5. How does it make you feel?
      6. What beauty do you see?
      7. As this item moves out of your line of focus, choose something new that is beautiful and engaging to you
      8. Continue shifting your focal point observing, connecting, appreciating with what is in your immediate space as you finish out the rest of your walk.


My Practice:

I’ve found walking consciously in this way to be the most amazing way to build mindful connection with what is around me. Give it a try. The overall impact of adding a walking meditation practice to your life is you can build more mindful connected awareness in your day to day life with those people and moments that matter to you.


In time, you will come to find with practice this also gets easier. The initial part of this practice, slowing down your mind, your breath, your steps happens rather quickly and almost naturally. And time spent out walking can be spent connecting with what is around you in a meaningful and thoughtful way. This same type of appreciative and connected mindset will transfer over to how you engage with your loved ones. And even result in you not minding so much the monotony of simple everyday tasks that you “have to do”. You will come to be more present for them. Which in my opinion, is just awesome! Why waste your moments, right? 🙂 And once a walking practice becomes natural to you, a seated practice will be that much easier as the connection and stillness that are needed for you to sit with your thoughts will come naturally. I intend to share a second post in the future where I will touch on how color paired with intentions can be used as a way to balance energy alongside a walking practice.


In Closing, Here are 6 Tips to Follow As You Begin Your Practice


  1. Find a suitable location
  2. Center yourself with breath and intention before starting
  3. Start walking at your normal pace
  4. Take notice, slow down, balance: Speed of steps, breath, right and left
  5. Internal scan
  6. Take awareness outward: observe, connect, appreciate, repeat


Much Love,


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