How do I do a walking meditation

Walking meditation in everyday life: step by step to mindfulness

As a meditation for beginners, walking meditation is wonderfully suitable because you can practice it anywhere and anytime. Exercising mindfulness with such self-evident movements as walking may seem a bit strange at first. After a while, however, you will feel how your concentration improves, your perception refines and the everyday stress lets you go.

Requirements for walking meditation

The great thing about walking meditation is that, in principle, you don't need any accessories to get started. Your current fitness level, your age or your state of health do not have to prevent you from carefully setting one foot in front of the other. Therefore, the practice is perfect as a meditation for beginners. In doing so, you walk slowly without a goal, let your thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky, watch your breath without forcing anything, and live fully in the present. You will be amazed how awake your senses can be all of a sudden.

This is how you do the meditation

The formal walking meditation is particularly suitable for beginners with little meditation experience, as it is very slow and precise at the beginning and in this way you can practice the basics of mindfulness in peace. Later, when you have mastered formal walking meditation well, you can increase your speed to normal walking pace and thus incorporate meditation into your everyday life at any time. It is best if you can practice undisturbed at the beginning, then you do not have to worry about how slow walking affects others from the outside.

Start walking meditation by standing relaxed and centered. Move back and forth a little until you find your balance. Feel whether there is any tension in your body and consciously let go of it. Breathe in and out relaxed and watch your breaths without judging them. Then shift the weight from the left to the right foot and back again.

You can feel how your perception and sensations change when you move. Then you can slowly lift one foot, bring it forward and consciously put it down, then the other. This is how you begin to move slowly and deliberately. You move forward this way without planning or thinking and just enjoying the moment.

How long does the exercise take?

The duration of the walking meditation is entirely up to you. At the beginning it may only be a few minutes, later you can extend the length of the exercise as you wish. The main thing is that you take enough time to really switch off and focus fully on the process of walking. One suggestion would be to let the meditation last between five and fifteen minutes.

Walking meditation and body scan

During walking meditation, you can also do the Body Scan, an exercise from Jon Kabat-Zinn's MBSR program. You don't need a special place or time for this, you can simply start on the way to work or home. During a body scan, you wander through your body with your attention from bottom to top before you perceive yourself and your walking movement as a whole.

At the beginning of the body scan you feel into your feet and observe which sensations arise in the soles when walking. Then concentrate on your ankles, calves, knees, thighs, and hips in the same way until you get to the top of your head. Then, watch your entire body and breath as you walk without judging, and let your thoughts slide by.

Effect on health and well-being

Walking meditation will help you let go of stressful thoughts and behaviors and learn to relax. Because of this, exercise can also help you prevent stress-related illnesses and feel better overall.

Overcoming difficulties

You may find it difficult at first to keep your balance walking slowly or to just let your thoughts go. The so-called monkey chatter - when thoughts and evaluations whirl around wildly and distract you - is quite normal at the beginning. Don't let yourself go crazy and just concentrate consciously on breathing, the moment and the sequence of movements.