Meditating is a great way to connect with your mind and body, destress, and build focus. But it isn't for everybody — some people have quite a bit of trouble sitting still for long periods of time, while others are on a busy schedule — hence, the benefits of walking meditations are endless.
But what is walking meditation? How does it differ from seated meditation, and how does it benefit your mind and body?
Evidently, walking meditation is a common practice that can be seamlessly implemented into your daily routine.
"Walking is such an established, habituated action for many of us that we tend to do it on auto-pilot. The moment we step out the door, our mind tends to go wandering, too — caught up in remembering, dwelling, planning, worrying, or analyzing," reads an article on walking meditation from Headspace.
Once you become accustomed to doing walking meditations on the regular, you'll likely start to notice changes in your disposition, and overall sense of being.
"Meditating while walking is a way to get the mind to walk with us," the Headspace piece continues. "It’s amazing how different we feel when paying attention to what’s going on around us rather than what’s swirling in our head."
What is walking meditation?
When meditation comes to mind, you likely think of pure stillness in a serene space. However, it doesn't have to involve stillness, if you're partaking in a walking meditation. According to MindWorks, mindful walking meditations, or meditation in motion, complements seated meditations.
Instead of going on your usual stroll, which might involve calling a friend or scrolling through Instagram, it involves being fully aware of all physical sensations.
With your eyes open, your mind and body are fully present. Maybe you're listening to a guided meditation, or you might be doing it on your own. But either way, according to Vietnamese meditation master and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, those practicing should “print peace, serenity and happiness on the ground.”
What are the benefits of walking meditation?
The benefits of walking meditation stem from the acts of both walking and meditating.
According to Healthline, the walking part gets your blood flowing and it lowers your blood sugar. It also improves digestion, sleep quality, and balance, while making exercise more fun. Meanwhile, the meditation aspect reduces stress, alleviates depression, and inspires creativity.
Depending on where you walk, spending time in nature can also boost your mood levels. And if you're a rookie at meditating, doing so while walking is a great start for beginners, because walking is familiar and easier than sitting still, for many.
Here are some guided walking meditations, if you don't know where to start:
Alo Yoga also has a subscription-based app, which offers a wide range of walking meditations through its Walking Series. With walks ranging between 20 and 45 minutes, there's something for everything.
And of course, there are so many free walking meditations on YouTube — just do a little search, and you're bound to find one (or a few) that fit your fancy.