What Is Mindful Walking?
Just as mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment, mindful walking is the practice of becoming aware of your surroundings and how your body and mind feel while moving. Meditation isn’t necessarily about being still. For some people, movement is helpful for becoming more aware of their bodies and minds, as well as the present moment. Choose a route, preferably outdoors, where you can walk uninterrupted for at least 10 minutes. Dedicate the time simply to walking — mindful walking isn’t about getting to a destination or running an errand!
What are the benefits of mindful walking?
Mindful walking blends two important de-stressing methods: movement (preferably outdoors!) and mindfulness. Physical activity, even if it’s walking, is shown to steady your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduces stress-inducing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. On top of the benefits of walking itself, mindfulness also has benefits that can improve your body and mind.
Six steps for practicing mindful walking
- Before beginning your walk, stand still for a few moments, focusing on your breathing. Take note of how your entire body is feeling.
- As you begin to walk, bring your full attention to the movements and sensations in your body.
- Notice the way you carry your body— the feelings in your feet, legs, arms, chest, and head.
- Once you have connected with the sensations in your body, begin to open your attention to the sights around you.
- If you find yourself distracted by other thoughts, simply return to the focus on the movements of your feet, your breath, or the sensations in your body.
- When you are done, notice how you feel. Do you feel calmer, energized, or focused?
Like any new activity, you’ll have to practice mindful walking to really get the hang of it. But once you’re able to quickly focus your attention on your breathing and movement, you’ll enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that come with mindful walking. After you feel comfortable with mindful walking, try incorporating other moments of mindfulness in your day. Check out our library of mindful movements you can practice throughout the day.