For 10 minutes every morning I have one sole purpose: breathe.
I meditate daily, and have for about the last 4 years. Why? Well, it started after reading that meditation was going to improve my focus, my mood, and my relationships. Over time, I’ve realized that meditation is the one time when I’m not supposed to problem solve, manage, or be productive. Instead, I get to simply BE.
You’d be surprised, but BEing isn’t all that easy. Even after some 1,000 meditation sessions, some days go smoother than others.
Sometimes, the simple sound of my breath is enough to keep my attention. I feel the steadiness of my belly moving with my breath. I feel a calm, a peace, a joy simply sitting.
Other days? Not so seamless. My mind keeps moving, planning, and doing anything it can do to NOT focus on my breath.
It’s easy to fight it. I stay seated, and I keep trying to force myself to concentrate. Again. And again. And again. Have you ever done something similar?
But there’s another way. Instead of sitting and forcing the situation – help yourself find that calm by moving.
To be more specific: walk. We all envision meditation as this quite, still act, but moving or walking meditation is actually a powerful tool that’s been used for generations to help you calm your mind.
Walking meditation is powerful because you can find a new focus. Instead of it being all about your breath, your focus can be on your feet pressing into the floor, the air on your skin, or the movement of your limbs.
Now I know what you’re thinking – “I can’t SIT and meditate, how am I going to MOVE and meditate?”
But actually, it might be an easier step for you. Here’s what you do:
- Set a timer or decide the distance you want to walk (start small. Not a mile!)
Seriously. Now of course, this walk is different than your usual walks. No smartphones please. No rush. Fight the urge to go as quickly as possible. Instead, take one breath with each step. Move consciously. Feel the earth, feel your breath, and feel your muscles moving and changing with each step.
Walking meditation is so simple – you could get off your chair right now, and walk across the room mindfully. Seriously – do it! It’ll take you 30 seconds.
Finished? There’s no rush. 😀
OK – you did it. Your first walking meditation. Walking meditation is perfect for those days that your brain just can’t seem to slow down, and you need a little extra activity to help you concentrate and focus.
I also love walking meditation on the days that I have allergies or a stuffy nose. Sometimes focusing on my breath is just a LITTLE too difficult those days, and it’s better to feel the sensation of walking.
The third time that walking meditation is nice is when you’ve been sitting for a long time (say after you get off a plane or train).
Some people use a form walking meditation as their main meditation technique, so if you’ve been having a hard time doing a seated meditation practice, give walking meditation a shot!
If you want a little more instruction and help in cultivating a walking meditation practice, come out to Wanderlust 108 on September 23rd, 2017! I’ll be leading sessions on walking meditation all afternoon. Plus, you’ll get to participate in our “mindful triathlon” – run a 5K, do a yoga class, and then a seated meditation. It’s sure to be an amazing day.
I’m so excited to be a part of Wanderlust 108, and it’s a fabulous opportunity for you to hone your walking meditation skills. I hope you’ll join me. As a member of the Happy Healthy Human community, you’ll receive 10% off your ticket using code HAPPYHEALTHYHUMAN. See you there!
Even if you can’t make it out to Wanderlust 108, give walking meditation a try, and let me know what you think!
If you’re looking for seated meditation instruction, try my free series of 3-minute meditations!
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.