Mindful Walking: Learn Four Ways to Do Walking Meditation


“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
~Author Unknown

I recently attended a five-day Mindfulness Workshop from 1 to 5 June 2016 conducted by Prof. P. L. Dhar. It was organized by Col. Dr. V. R. R. Datla and Mr. K. Madhu at the Ratnapuri Institute campus in Medak Dist, Telangana.

What I liked best in the workshop were the mindful walking sessions. These were 20-minute sessions of walking meditation that were interspersed with the formal sitting meditation sessions.

One of the special features of walking meditation or mindful walking is that you can use it to develop mindfulness in four different ways:

  1. Movement of legs and feet:
    This is the easiest way to meditate during walking. We pay attention to the movement of the feet and legs during walking. We can be aware of the four components of walking – that is,
    lifting of the left foot,
    the forward movement of the left foot,
    the placing of the left heel on the ground,
    and finally, the placing of the rest of the left foot on the ground.
    This is followed by awareness of similar movements of the right foot and so on.
  1. Respiration:
    Instead of movement of feet and legs, we can choose to be aware of the incoming and outgoing breath. When the breath is coming in, we are aware: “Now the breath is coming in.” When the breath is going out, we are aware, “Now the breath is going out.”If it’s not clear whether the breath is coming in or going out, we can breathe a little deeper so that the awareness of incoming and outgoing breath is absolutely clear. Often the mind may wander and we may lose awareness of the breath. As soon as we realize this, says Prof. Dhar, we should smile and understand, “My mind has wandered,” and bring our attention back to the breath.

The mind is bound to wander again and again. Our  job is to bring it back to respiration as soon as we realize that the mind has wandered without feeling any discouragement or sense of defeat.

  1. Body sensations: Sometimes, we can experience whatever sensations we can feel on the body such as warmth, cold, itching, pain, etc. Alternatively, we may feel the touch of the clothes or touch of the air, anywhere on the body.
  1. Sounds: During mindful listening, the focus of mediation is at the “sense doors” of our ears. We listen to whatever sounds we can hear and are aware of them without judgment or reaction.

So, walking meditation is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness, especially if you find it difficult to practice sitting meditation.

Walking Meditation Action-Step:
Set a timer for ten minutes and try mindful walking. You can focus either on
the movements of your legs and feet,
on your incoming and outgoing breath,
body sensations or
mindful listening.

Join the conversation:
Have you ever practiced walking meditation?
What was your experience?
Let us know in the comments below.


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