Benefits Of Mindful Walking: How To De-Stress This Hectic Life?

Have you ever wondered how does Mindful Walking work? Worry not, here as easy guide that will help you start your journey!

Ever wonder how many types of meditation are there? Yes there are many, one among them which is gaining attention is known as Mindful Walking!

The first image that comes to our mind when spoken about someone doing meditation is that of the person sitting on the floor cross-legged, with closed eyes, in an upright posture. This is the most popular way to meditate. But in reality several are the ways in which we can meditate.

One such way is known as walking meditation. We all do walk but do we do it mindfully is the question.

This seemingly monotonous activity happened to become a wonderful therapeutic aid for Rehana, a very close friend of mine. As a remedial practice, it helped her to return to the present, offering her a kind of relief which she did not even imagine in her wildest dreams.

Yes this is known as mindful walking!

Rehana happened to notice symptoms of psychomotor agitation six months ago. Symptoms included her inability to sit still; suddenly starting and stopping the work in hand without any obvious reason; and tapping her fingers and moving around without any specific purpose.

When she noticed that one of her symptoms of reacting uncontrollably to the most insignificant stimulus become very marked, she decided on seeing a physician. The root cause of her problem appeared to be her high profile job.

That was the time when her therapist introduced her to art of ‘mindful walking’, a very simple practice which when practised deliberately made a person aware of each and every step taken by that person. This was the starting point of the healing process.

The main plus point of this walking is its simplicity. It is age-agnostic; it needs neither a particular place nor special equipment and can be done at any comfortable time.

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What is mindful walking?

Walking meditation or in other words mindful walking may seem illogical to some, but it is no doubt a great way to practice mindfulness while on the move. All you have to do is to simply walk with your attention focussed on your surroundings, body and the thoughts running in your mind.

This is indeed a good for those who detest the idea of sitting still in a place for a long period of time. It combines the benefits of awareness and exercise.

The difference between mindfulness and mindful walking practice is that in the former your consciousness is brought to the present moment whereas in the latter you are made aware of your surroundings and the feelings experienced by your body and mind while on the move. Meditation is not always about being still.

Walk conciously

For some, movement helps in understanding more about their bodies and also becoming aware of their present moment. Select a path preferably outside in fresh air and walk at least for about 10 to 15 minutes uninterruptedly. Remain totally dedicated, as mindful walking is not about running an errand or reaching a destination. Walk consciously.

Take note of the repeated lifting and falling movements of your feet.

Absorb the smells, sights, sounds and impressions that surround you. Walking time is immaterial. You can walk for a few minutes or for an hour. Even pushing a stroller or taking a quick trip to the salon can be made into mindful walking.

  • Any mindful practice detaches you from media. If it is necessary that you take your phone, do switch it off.
  • Connect your senses to your surroundings.
  • It is both satisfying and refreshing, providing you with a wonderful chance to carry on your walk without any distraction.

For nature lovers, practising mindfulness in the midst of Nature is a mitigating, uplifting and soothing experience. Then again you have a feeling of emotional as well as spiritual balance.

Initially your mind will be pounded with unwanted thoughts, which is but natural. Every time an unwanted thought bombards you from the present moment, gently push it out of your mind and carry forward.

How to do walking meditation?

A quiet area is what is necessary. May be indoors or outdoors to walk back and forth without any disturbance; avoid being judgemental and find out how your bare feet feel and how they feel with shoes on; notice your breathing pattern and your posture as well; observe your rhythm of walking and maintain a straight posture.

Mindful walking is a combination of two important methods of de-stressing that includes mindfulness and movement, mostly outdoors!

There are many tecniques!

Several are the unique benefits of mindful walking when compared to its seated counterpart. It aids better concentration if practised regularly and also elevates one’s mood, lowers stress and keeps blood pressure in control.

But, if a person is affected by conditions like personality disorder, depression, attention deficit syndrome or even severe form of anxiety. This type of meditation is not all that easy. But it however does not mean that you do not try it at all. Get started by practising it for a short while of just, may be 30 seconds. Then stay rested for some time.

Again, when you feel ready for a second round, go for another extra 4 steps. The entire idea behind this is not to count the number of steps but make every step count.

The main difference between the accepted seated meditation and that of meditation in motion is that the former is done in a calm and peaceful surrounding whereas the latter happens in an environment with several potential distractions.

These distractions include disruptions from sounds from birds, other animals, traffic, and walkers etc, which fight for your attention. When these distractions repeatedly enter your field of awareness, it becomes imperative that you pull back yourself to the present and continue your walking.

This continuous process of the drifting away of attention and drawing it back helps in strengthening the mental muscles and focus on the task at hand. This in turn establishes a deeper contact between the body and the mind.

Your physical wellbeing will be reflected on your mind

The way in which you physically express yourself when you do mindful walking speaks volumes about your balance, stride, posture and your bearing.

Walk as long as you are comfortable and modify it to suit to your needs and the time available with you for this activity. Keep in mind that you are fully aware of your surroundings and that you need not spend the same time everyday as it may not be possible always.

The very fact that that you are making an attempt to bring in awareness while walking is a huge step in the correct direction. Subsequent to mindful walking you can take spend some time to reflect on your observations, experiences and feelings. This indeed will give you a very good feel.

As in any new activity you will have to diligently practice this art of mindful walking to get to know the feel and the benefits of this activity. Once you master the art of quickly focussing your attention on your movement and breathing, the benefits of this activity will naturally follow.

Go ahead and take a break and uplift your mood with this art of mindful walking. When you are getting ready to end your mindful walking, stand still for some time before beginning the next activity. All you need to do is to turn this everyday action into an instrument for consciousness and reduction of stress.

Practice will help you get better

This skill of walking meditation is acquired over a period of time. Practice makes it perfect. The integration of mindfulness gets spread over other areas of your life suffusing them with deeper mindfulness.

Enjoy this chance of not having to reach a particular destination. No time constraints… It is not about the speed of walking, but how you feel about the whole exercise. Since walking is a basic activity that most of us do every day, we can do this mindful walking for any length of time; may be minute or 30 minutes.

The regularity in doing this integrates mindfulness in each and every activity of ours in our daily lives.

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