They say practice makes perfect, and when it comes to meditation there is no exception to the rule. Chances are if you’ve just started meditating, you’re likely experiencing a wondering mind. Well don’t sweat it, you’re not alone and the good news is, there’s more than one way to practice meditation.
Ever heard of walking meditation? Walking meditation is perfect for those who prefer not to sit with their eyes closed in a more tradition method of meditation.
Now just think back to the last time you walked alone. Were you truly present? Was your head buried in your phone or thinking about that meeting you had coming up that day?
As walking is such a habitual part of our life it’s easy to be on auto-pilot and move away from the present moment. We often miss the chance to truly connect with our environment and the pleasure of just walking.
So here are 6 techniques to bring body and mind in sync and in to the present while we’re pounding the pavement.
1. BODY CHECK
When you set out on your walk check-in with how your body feels and become aware of your posture. Without trying to change the way you’re walking just become aware of your stride.
Really take it all in, focus on the little details of what you see in the environment you find yourself in. Whether it’s a beautiful landscape, people walking by or birds in the sky. Don’t think too much about what you’re seeing, just acknowledge what you see.
3. TUNE IN
Focus in on the sounds that surround you in the foreground and the more subtle sounds in the distance. Try to identify new sounds but don’t dwell on them, just observe.
4. PHYSICAL SENSATIONS
Make note of any physical sensations, from the warmth of the sunshine, the breeze against your skin or the feeling of the ground under your feet. (Pro tip, if you’re walking in the park try walking barefoot for added grounding).
Whether pleasant or potent, begin to place focus on the different smells as you pass from one space to another. You may even notice your mind may allocate meaning or create nostalgia from a certain smell.
Next you can stay present by focusing in on the way your body is moving. From the way your arms switch up by your side, to the stride of your legs and the pace of your walk. Feel the ground as your soles land and your body weight shirts to the ball of your feet with each step.
When it comes to walking meditation there are no set-in stone rules. The key is to remind yourself of your intention to be in the moment and as free from distractions as possible. If you find your mind wandering simply bring your attention back to these sensations mentioned above and enjoy the experience of your walking mediation practice.