Slow Your Mind

How to Practice Walking Meditation: A Beginner's Guide

How to Practice Walking Meditation: A Beginner's Guide
Man walking mindfully. Photo: Jeremy Bishop / Unsplash

Walking meditation is a form of meditation that can be practiced to calm down your mind and become aware of your body. It can be practiced before and after sitting meditation, indoors, or outdoors. Walking meditation can be practiced anywhere and anytime.

Here's how to practice walking meditation:

  1. Find a private place where you can walk back and forth.
  2. Stand at one end, close your eyes, and tune into your environment.
  3. When you feel ready, slowly walk to the other side while being mindful of every step.
  4. Turn around and walk back mindfully.
  5. Continue for 10-20 minutes.

When practicing walking meditation, let the natural movement of your body cultivate mindfulness and awareness of your body.

Often we're in a hurry, walking meditation is a chance to be mindful and connect to our surroundings.

Table of Contents

Walking Meditation Benefits

In a 2014 study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that mindfulness meditation programs can improve anxiety, depression and pain.1

However, walking meditation seems to have additional benefits compared to sitting meditation.

A study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies showed that walking meditation improves balance performance among elderly people.2

Another study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine showed that both traditional walking and walking meditation reduces blood glucose levels and increased cardiovascular fitness in patients with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, walking meditation had additional benefits not observed in the traditional walking program, for example reduced arterial stiffness and cortisol level.3

Summing up, walking meditation

With all of these benefits, let's learn how to do walking meditation...

How to Do Walking Meditation

When practicing sitting meditation, it's common to focus on one's breathing. When practicing walking meditation, on the other hand, it's common to focus on the movement of one's body.

Here's how to do walking meditation...

Finding a Place

It's a good idea to find a place aside when practicing walking meditation for the first time since it will probably feel a little akward. However, you don't need a special place for walking meditation -- practice in your living room or in a forest. The only requirement is that you are able to walk a few meters back and forth.

Getting Started

Stand at one end of the path. Tune into your environment by taking some deep breaths. Feel how the ground is carrying your body.

When you feel ready, slowy walk to the other side. Be mindful of every step you take -- observe the movement of your body. When you reach the other side, slowly turn around and walk back. Continue in this mindful manner for as long as you like, at least 10-20 minutes is recommended.

Being Mindful

When practicing walking meditation it's important not to tense the body. Relax your shoulders and let your arms hang naturally by your sides. Keep your head up and look further away, but not at anything particular.

Feel how your steps and breaths become harmonised. This is your natural rhythm of walking and breathing.

After some time, you will probably loose focus. That's nothing to worry about. Gently bring back your attention to the present moment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long to Do Walking Meditation?

It's recommended to practice walking meditation for at least 10-20 minutes. Practice for as long as you like.

What to Do When the Mind Wanders?

Don't judge yourself or worry about it. It's normal to loose focus. Whenever you find that your mind has wandered, and gently put it back to the present.

Does Walking Help Stress?

Yes. Many studies suggests that walking reduces the experience of stress. Furthermore, walking meditation has numerous additional health benefits compared to traditional walking.

Where to Practice Walking Meditation?

Walking meditation can be practiced anywhere: in your home, in the nature, or in the city. Try to walk mindfully instead of looking at your phone or listening to a podcast.

  1. Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EMS, et al. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):357–368. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018 

  2. Apsornsawan Chatutain, Jindarut Pattana, Tunyakarn Parinsarum, Saitida Lapanantasin, Walking meditation promotes ankle proprioception and balance performance among elderly women, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 23, Issue 3, 2019, Pages 652-657, ISSN 1360-8592, doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2018.09.152

  3. Atikarn Gainey, Thep Himathongkam, Hirofumi Tanaka, Daroonwan Suksom, Effects of Buddhist walking meditation on glycemic control and vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 26, 2016, Pages 92-97, ISSN 0965-2299, doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.009

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