How to Practice Alternative Walking Meditations for Mindfulness
If formal walking meditation isn’t for you, there are other options. Here are a couple of other ways you can practice walking meditation for mindfulness, which you can use whilst moving at your own pace:
Mindfulness walking body scan
In this walking meditation you gradually move your awareness up your body as you walk, from your feet all the way to the top of your head.
Begin by walking as you normally would.
Now focus on the sensations in your feet.
Notice how the weight shifts from one foot to the other.
Continue to move your mindful attention up your body.
Feel your lower legs as you walk, then your upper legs, noticing their movement.
Now observe the movement and sensations in the area of the hips and pelvis.
Continue to scan your awareness to the lower, and then upper torso, then your arms, as they naturally swing to help you keep balance.
Observe the sensation in your shoulders, your neck, your face, and then the whole of your head.
Now get a sense of the body as a whole as you continue to stroll, together with the physical sensation of the breath.
Continue this for as long as you wish.
Walk and smile for mindfulness
This is a practice recommended by world-famous mindfulness teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. This mindfulness exercise is about generating positive feelings as you walk. Try the following as an experiment. Have fun with it:
Find a place to walk, by yourself, or with a friend.
Try to find a beautiful place to walk if possible.
Remember that the purpose of walking meditation is to be in the present moment, letting go of your anxieties and worries.
Just enjoy the present moment.
Walk as if you’re the happiest person on earth.
Smile – you’re alive! Acknowledge that you’re very fortunate if you’re able to walk.
As you walk in this way, imagine you are printing peace and joy with every step you take.
Walk as if you’re kissing the earth with each step you take. Know that you’re taking care of the earth by walking in this way.
Notice how many steps you take when you breathe in, and how many you take when you breathe out.
If you take three steps with each in-breath, in your mind say ‘in – in – in’ as you breathe in. And if you take four steps as you breathe out, say ‘out – out – out – out’. Doing so helps you to become aware of your breathing.
Every now and then, when you see a beautiful tree, flower, lake, children playing, or anything else you like, stop and look at it.
Continue to follow your breathing as you do this.
Imagine a flower blooming under each step you take.
Allow each step to refresh your body and mind. Realize that life can only be lived in the present moment. Enjoy your walking.