Twice the Health Rewards with Walking Meditation
You probably know that walking is a great way to stay healthy physically. It provides cardiovascular benefits, burns calories, and increases blood flow to various parts of your body that need it. However, have you ever thought of combining the time you spend walking with spiritual and mental meditation, so that you can increase the benefits walking can offer you?
Oftentimes, when people take up walking, they do so because it’s an easy way to exercise that is low impact and is easy to learn. You don’t need special equipment or even a lot of time. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and walk your way toward better health.
However, if you combine this with meditation or mindful walking, you can get even more benefit out of this time than you would normally spend just exercising.
Walking meditation comes from the art of Ayatana; Ayatana is a Buddhist concept whereby you stay continually in touch with your senses. You don’t walk mindlessly, but focus on every step and sensation. You don’t have to increase your speed and even may walk a lot more slowly than usual at first until you are fully comfortable with meditating while you walk.
As you focus on your walking, take note of how heavy or light your feet are as they come up off the ground and then return to it after each step. With walking meditation, you want to be focused on walking as an experience. Keep your mind focused on the process; focus on the steps you’re taking first with your right foot, then your left foot.
Oftentimes, traditional meditation has you sitting in a room with your eyes closed so that you can concentrate on mental clarity. However, with walking meditation, you need to see where you’re going. This means that you absorb your outside environment and process it with the mental clarity brought on by meditation.
The ideal surroundings for walking meditation are somewhere peaceful and appealing. Your neighborhood park is good; road construction is bad. Your environment should be inviting enough that time passes quickly and pleasantly. You should aim to walk for a minimum of 20 minutes each time.
When you start to walk, use good posture and keep your arms at your sides. Focus on a point about 3 to 6 feet in front of you as you walk.
Of course, walking will help your body and your health in many ways. It provides more serotonin to improve your mood as well. If you add meditation to your walk, your exercise program will become even more powerful and further improve your mind as well as your body.