Modern life has us all feeling more stressed than ever before, and many people turn to meditation for relief. Though sitting meditation is still considered the best form of relaxing the mind and developing mindfulness, there may be moments in life when sitting still on a cushion is not an accessible way to unwind. If you find yourself too busy or anxious to sit in meditation, you still have plenty of options to develop your mindfulness and start with small steps towards a meditative practice.
A commonly known benefit of meditation is that it makes us more mindful. This means that we become more able to gently guide our attention back to the present in a non-judgmental way, even when we get caught up in stressful thoughts for situations. Meditating in stillness is not the only way to achieve this. There are several meditation techniques you can do while on the move. Believe it or not, you can even develop a meditative state of mind while walking.
Mindful walking involves focusing on the present moment as you walk. You can use the sights, sounds, and sensations around you to guide your mind back to the present. You can also focus on each step you take instead of your breath. This allows you to tune into the present while engaging in a more familiar activity.
Since sitting in meditation sometimes may feel forced or too far out of your comfort zone, meditating while walking may be a more achievable method for you. Most of us spend some amount of time walking each day, so adding meditation to something you already do may feel much easier to accomplish and begin with.
Whether you find yourself feeling a bit resistant to traditional meditation, or you just want to find a new mindful practice to include in your routine, it’s worth considering mindful walking. Here are a few reasons this practice might be just what you are looking for:
You Don’t Like Sitting Still
Many people know that meditation would help them in life, but sitting still for ten minutes just feels too unrealistic for a start. In this day and age, we are busy and like to keep moving, so this is a completely normal feeling to have. If you’ve tried meditating and could not shake the restless feeling of discomfort, mindful walking may be a more comfortable point of entry.
Forget the meditation cushion, peaceful music, and dim lighting for now. Just put on your walking shoes and head out for a mindful walk. Learning how to meditate while walking will show you that you can access the benefits of meditation without completely restructuring your routine. If mindful movement puts your mind at ease, then, by all means, use that in your favor.
You Don’t Have Time to Meditate
Another barrier to meditating is the feeling that you don’t have enough time. This was a big factor for me as well. I knew I wanted to meditate, but the idea of adding another thing to my to-do list just made me more anxious.
This is the opposite of what we want out of meditation practice, right? By starting to apply mindfulness on my walk to work, I realized that I could incorporate the activity into my routine more easily than I realized.
Most of us walk every day, whether it’s for exercise, to commute, or simply walking down the hallway. The important thing about this is, the activity is already a part of your day. No carving out time or restructuring of routines is needed. Just add a bit of awareness into the walking you already do, and you’ll be on your way to developing a mindfulness practice with no hindrance to your schedule.
You Need a Change of Scenery
Maybe you’re like me, and you work from home or spend an excessive amount of time in one place. The idea of meditating in the same place that I work, sleep, or spend time with family doesn’t make me feel very relaxed. It is simply not conducive to a calmer state of mind.
It’s important to have a separate place to meditate. This helps you mentally separate from your responsibilities and stressors. If you don’t have a separate location, mindful walking can help you get into a fresh state of mind.
Getting out in nature and moving your body away from a stressful environment can help you mentally separate from stressors with greater ease. This mental separation helps you return to the present, and ultimately return to a calmer and truer you. This is the goal of meditation. Changing locations and moving your body breaks up stagnant energy and helps you enter a calmer headspace in less time.
There Are Mental and Physical Benefits
The mental benefits of any meditation practice have been scientifically proven. When you meditate regularly, you can access relaxation, stay resilient under pressure, and handle life with a more patient and positive attitude. Adding walking to this practice expands the mental and physical benefits you can experience.
Benefits of mindful walking for your mental and physical well-being include:
- Maintaining a calmer nervous system
- Developing a more positive »mindset, even in times of stress
- Increasing your attention and ability to concentrate in all areas of life
- Improving mobility and heart function
- Improving balance
- Strengthening bones and muscles
- Improving mood
- Increasing happiness
- Improving communication skills
- Getting better sleep
- Heightening your senses
If you are interested in learning how to use your sense of sound to enhance this experience, you should consider brain entrainment. This technique uses soundwaves to sync the hemispheres of your brain and allow you to more readily enter a state of relaxation. Brain entrainment is a great way to retrain your brain to focus and return to the current moment. A few popular programs for practicing brain entrainment are Omharmonics, Holosync, Lifeflow, and Zen12.
No matter what reason you might be considering mindful walking for, this practice is bound to help you become more mindful with everything you do. Walking is an accessible way to start bringing meditation into your daily life. Consider these benefits when deciding to cultivate a new practice.
Now that you know meditation can involve also walking, moving, and being active, nothing is stopping you from taking the first steps to develop this new habit today!
This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.