A brilliant combination of regular walking, but with intention and awareness. Mindful walking can be a great way to bring your body and mind into sync, allowing you to return to the present moment.
Walking is such an established form of movement for us, that we often do it on auto-pilot. Mindful walking allows us the chance to connect with nature and our surroundings.
"In every walk with nature, one receives more than one seeks" - John Muir
Several studies have shown that taking a break to look at or be in nature can have a rejuvenating effect on the brain, helping to shift your mindset when you are feeling stuck and boosting attention levels.
Mindful walking can be a great alternative if you don’t enjoy sitting and closing your eyes to meditate. Similarly to seated meditation, it has the ability to train the mind in awareness, whilst also creating a sense of rest within the body and mind. Mindful walking can be viewed as walking meditation.
How to do it?
Slow down your pace, it's not a race!
Start to tune in to your surroundings using your senses:
See: Notice the details of the environment around you. Look up and observe the sky. Allow time to stop and take photos if you notice something that appeals to you. But try to resist the urge to start checking messages, social media and emails. This is your time, for you not anyone else.
Hear: What can you hear? Are there any birds, other people or urban noises such as traffic? Take a few steps and listen to the texture of sound as you take each step. You might like to stop walking for a moment and close your eyes so that you may really focus in on the sounds around you without your mind being distracted by the views.
Smell: Are there any particular smells? Do they evoke any memories for you? Do they remind you of somewhere, something, or someone? Are they pleasant or not?
Feel: You might like to feel the textures of objects around you. If you are in nature you might like to feel the bark of a tree, a fallen leaf or seed pod. This can be a great way to really ground yourself and connect with your environment as a living being. Notice the air around your body — does it feel warm or cool?
Body: Check in with your body — how is it feeling today? Do you have any soreness, stiffness or is there anything else that comes up for you?
Mind: Are there any particular thoughts or strong feelings that you are noticing?
How to stay focused
Feel the rhythm of your walking — the soles of the feet touching the ground — use this as your base of awareness, to help refocus when the mind wanders off.
Maintain a steady comfortable rhythm, walking naturally and breathing normally.
"A fresh perspective can awaken the mind to new possibilities and ideas" - Happy Healthy Whole Living
Where to walk?
There is truly nothing more refreshing than a walk in nature, connecting with all its sights, sounds, and smells. Checking in with yourself and your surroundings can turn an ordinary walk into an opportunity for a renewed appreciation of life. When walking mindfully, even a familiar path can become a new experience — an opportunity to notice a change or something new that you may have missed before.
Life is a journey. You deserve the time and space to enjoy its beauty and soak it all up.
It is true that with regular practice, you can walk mindfully anywhere.
If you are interested in learning more about mindful walking or joining a walking group, Happy Healthy Whole Living runs groups that are suitable for all ages, for both individuals and families. We'd love to have you join us! Click the link to find out more https://www.happyhealthywholeliving.com.au/services