With Fall truly upon us what a wonderful time to get outside to indulge in nature’s cooler, crisp days. A walk around the park, your neighborhood, or a local lake sounds like a perfect escape at anytime of the day. Typically when people go for walks there is usually some combination of a music player, a friend to talk to, and possibly a cute doggie tagging along on their leash. This sounds like a pleasant arrangement….getting exercise, taking in the tunes, spending time with that special someone, while having your furry little buddy tagging along by your side.
However, what if you could take those 20-30 minutes and make them even more meaningful for yourself? How is this possible you might ask? Well, it’s known as walking meditation. Yes, you can meditate as you walk. In fact, such a meditation can be possible for almost anyone at anytime. It’s not necessary to have a sacred space, or a special time…you just need to bring awareness to every step you take. It is truly that simple.
During a walking meditation you have to maintain some awareness to what’s happening around you, but the goal is to move most of your awareness inward towards the actions of your body. First begin with your steps. Feel the action of the foot and ankle. Slowly move your awareness up your body towards the calves, knees, thighs, pelvis, torso, arms, shoulder, neck, head and breathe. Notice how the body moves forward; working in opposition with every extension of the legs, swing of the arms, and sway of the torso.
Then take notice of your gait, or length of steps. Are they even, or are they different? The goal is to be aware, not critical. After body awareness has been established see if you can notice any sensations happening. Maybe an article of clothing brushing against your skin, or a cool breeze working in unison with the sweat developing on your brow. Also, notice how you’re feeling. Once again, not being critical just simply taking notice. During times when I’m feeling tension, or stress with each step I repeat to myself slowly; “All things have a beginning, and an ending. Everything is, and will be alright.”
Lastly, take in the happenings around you. What do you see, hear, smell, or touch? How does that make you feel more connected to your surroundings? How does that make you feel more connected to yourself? Remember any form of walking is wonderful for your body, but a walking meditation is a simple way to unplug from the worries of the world as you take a little time to do something meaningful for yourself simply by taking each of your steps with awareness.
For more information on this topic visit: http://www.wildmind.org/walking/overview