When Sir Isaac Newton described the natural Law of Motion, he observed that bodies in motion tend to stay moving unless another force acts on it. Newton was referring to celestial bodies, but the same law applies to human bodies. Do you regularly keep your body moving, or does the cozy recliner often get in your way? Sir Isaac probably did not have walking meditation in mind when he developed his theory, but it certainly is a healthy habit to try.
Fitness experts have recommended walking as an ideal exercise for losing weight and toning your body. Walking is part of our daily activities, and it’s something that almost anyone can do. You don’t need any special equipment, and you can walk anywhere.
What is Walking Meditation?
If you want to boost the benefits of your walking routine, you might consider adding meditation. Walking meditation is an ideal way to improve yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Once you get comfortable with meditation, you’ll find that it will come as naturally as walking does.
Also known as mindful walking, walking meditation is a concept steeped into ancient Buddhism. It has been observed in the Buddhist cultures of Eastern Asia and continues to this day. These early cultures understood the inseparable bond between body, mind, and spirit thousands of years before Western science.
Getting Started on the Right Foot
You don’t need special training or expensive gym equipment to start reaping the benefits of mindful walking. Whether you are strolling under the gaze of forest trees or taking a short walk to the post office, you can bring mindfulness to every step. These are some basic methods that you can modify to your preference.
• Choose a Pleasant Location
Are you inspired by the stunning beauty of nature and breathing fresh air? Parks and forests are excellent places for walking meditation. If you have a city route, you can still notice the colorful houses and other attractive sites along the way. You can even practice while you are walking indoors through long corridors or while shopping in the mall.
• Be Mindful of Each Step
Walking is so much of a part of your daily life that you don’t need to think about how to do it. Have you ever noticed the complex patterns of movement that involves your entire body? When you mindfully walk, you become aware of lifting your foot, pushing off with the other, and moving your legs, arms, and head.
While you’re walking, be aware of each breath and your heartbeat. Breathe naturally and intentionally while you inhale positive energy and exhale negativity. Feel your muscles and joints as they work together to move your body forward.
• Practice Bringing Your Mind into Focus
When you are walking, try to focus your mind on the present moment. Notice your breathing and each gentle movement of your body. If your mind wanders, bring it gently back to the present. At this minute, be grateful for who you are and the blessings around you.
• What’s Your Speed?
You needn’t be a marathon runner to benefit from walking meditation. Medical experts often recommend walking over running since the latter can cause damage to joints and bones. You can pace yourself between a stroll and a quick power walk.
If your legs and arms are moving at an even stride for 30-45 minutes, you can optimize your walking meditation routine. The idea is to get your body and mind moving in sync. You’re not in a competition, and the goal isn’t to exhaust yourself.
• Making Mindful Walking a Daily Habit
Sure, there may be days that you can’t get outdoors to walk because of weather or busy schedules. You can still practice mindful walking while doing household chores or on your job. Simply be conscious of your steps, breathing, and being present in the moment.
Potential Benefits of Meditation Walking
Unlike some forms of Western fitness regimens, meditation walking, and other Eastern forms take a holistic approach to well-being. By walking and meditating for about 10,000 steps per day, you may soon notice its positive affect. These are ten benefits that mindful walking may offer.
1. Help You Lose Weight and Tone Your Muscles
Did you know that walking is an excellent practice for losing weight, lower blood pressure, and getting your body in shape? Walking helps burn fat, build muscle, and tighten loose skin. As you meditate, you can express gratitude for your body and enjoy the present moment of bringing it optimal health.
2. Improve Your Circulation
Do you want an efficient cardio workout without going to the gym? Walking increases your pulse and breathing, so it’s beneficial for your heart and lungs. Keeping your body moving can also increase and improve circulation throughout your body.
3. Lower Your Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Levels
When you do exercises such as mindful walking, it can also reduce your blood glucose levels. If you are trying to control or reverse Type 2 diabetes, it may be a valuable support. Regular walking and meditating have also been shown to lower blood pressure if you have hypertension.
4. Make Your Daily Exercise Fun
Boredom is the enemy of any healthy habit, including walking. As you blend meditation with your walking routine, you may notice many beautiful things that you’ve failed to see. Notice the sky, trees, and wonders of nature as if you were seeing them for the first time.
5. Inspire Your Gratitude
Soon, you will look forward to your daily walks and meditations. Practicing gratitude brings you joy and puts the fun into your journey. If your brain perceives a pleasurable activity, you are more apt to turn it into a healthy habit.
6. Boost Your Creativity
Have you ever been inspired by nature or been dazzled by a random idea while walking down a pathway? Mindful walking helps clear your mind of stagnant negativity, and you can experience greater mental clarity. You are also more apt to remember your ideas and creative rushes.
7. Improve Your Quality of Sleep
If you tire yourself with physical activity, you will be more ready for a good night’s sleep. However, endless mind chatter may keep you tossing and turning regardless of how exhausted you are. Blending meditation with walking can help soothe your brain and improve your sleep quality.
8. Improve Your Sense of Well-Being
How do you feel right now? If your body, mind, and spirit are unbalanced, you feel the unrest deep inside your soul. Meditation walking addresses all three aspects of your personality and can offer you a sense of well-being that continues with practice.
9. Help Lift Your Depression
For years, people who battled depression weren’t comfortable discussing it because of society’s negative attitudes. Are you among the estimated 7.1 percent of Americans with this prevalent mental illness? In addition to medication and therapy, many professional healthcare providers recommend exercise for their depressed patients.
Mindful walking can increase dopamine production in your brain, which can boost your mood. During your meditative journey, you can practice gratitude and be present. These actions may help you lift through the dark clouds of depression to feel the sunrays of joy.
10. Reduce Your Anxiety
Like depression, anxiety, and panic are other mental issues that people often decline to discuss. Anxiety is an unseen phantom that haunts your mind with fear and uncertainty. Multiple studies have shown positive results in patients with anxiety who meditate.
Their anxiety and panic levels are often reduced. When they team it with physical exercise like walking, the anti-anxiety benefits were noticeable.
11. Reduce Panic
Often, this disorder materializes as a crippling panic attack that makes you feel like you are dying. Sometimes, just worrying about having a panic attack can bring on one. Mindful walking is a great way to minimize panic.
12. Improve Your Digestion
Do you know that sluggish feeling you get after you’ve overdone it at mealtime? No wonder so many people opt for a walk after a heavy dinner. Walking involves your whole body, including your stomach and digestive system.
It can help your food move quickly through your system instead of building up to create painful gas and indigestion. Relaxing your mind with mediation can also ease the nerves and tension in the colon, making you less likely to have constipation.
13. Raise Your Energy Levels
Your energy level, or metabolism, is dependent on many internal and external variables. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and are steeped in negative thoughts and emotions, your energy levels will be dismal. Addressing physical and mental problems can be the key to a much-needed energy boost.
14. Slow You Down
Are you exhausted from going at a frantic pace each day? Mindful walking can encourage you to relax and slow your life down. It will allow you to enjoy each moment as they come.
15. Improve Your Concentration
When you are out walking and meditating, you can train your mind to concentrate. Your brain will learn to filter stray thoughts. You may see a difference when you are focusing at home, school, or work.
Mindful walking is a simple way to bring your body, mind, and spirit into focus. As you practice every day, you are bound to notice improvements in your well-being. It’s another reason to keep your body moving and your spirit soaring.