When we think about meditation, we usually imagine sitting or lying down with eyes closed, surrounded by calming candles, scents, and sounds. But what if we told you that meditation could involve movement and be more dynamic––like taking a walk?
Walking meditation is an excellent practice you'll enjoy if you want to connect your mind with your body and increase your mindful focus while staying active. It is a great alternative to traditional still meditation that can help you live a more active, intentional life.
Letting your mind wander can be wonderful for recharging your batteries and finding inspiration, but it also takes your focus away from your body and surroundings. Walking meditation brings us to the present moment and helps us experience the world with our senses. It allows us to appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells around us.
When you walk mindfully, you remain awake, aware, and focused on the present moment.
From Still to Active Meditation
Walking meditation is a bit different from sitting meditation, since you need to keep your eyes and senses open and move mindfully while taking in the world around you.
However, you may want to start with a traditional meditation to increase your self-awareness and focus. Once you feel centered, you can go for a walk and move through the world in that gentle meditative state.
When we’re moving, our body becomes an anchor that helps us stay in the moment. And when we pay attention to the experience, we can discover the unique fabric of life that we often take for granted in our busy daily lives. You can take a walk by yourself or with another person, or even your pet. The important part is to encounter the world with mindfulness.
Appreciating the Changing Seasons
When we think of walking as an activity, most of us imagine sunny skies with no clouds or rain on the broad horizon. Still, while a bright blue sky is undeniably gorgeous, there’s nothing more natural than seasonal changes. We often think spending time in the rain and snow may be uncomfortable, but it can be fun and enlightening.
Of course, avoiding the rain is understandable when you’re dashing from one place to another in a hurry. But if you enjoy walking for meditation and pleasure, taking a mindful walk in the rain can bring you closer to nature and yourself.
Meditating in the Rain
To get more familiar with the rain, you can begin the journey by observing the rain with curiosity and an open heart. Observe how the droplets form small puddles and streams and how they glide and drop.
Watch the droplets dance in the air. Try to imagine each drop as a note, and listen to the melody of their choir. Try to differentiate between the sounds they make: splashing, dripping, pattering, gushing.
You may notice how the light changes as the clouds move. How the light pierces the rain drops and water reflects the light. Can you see a rainbow?
Smell the air. Do you feel the scent of the earth as the rain wets the soil? Do you notice the leaves and flowers have a more fragrant smell?
Focus on your experience of the rain. What do the droplets falling on your skin feel like? Pull your tongue out and tilt your neck back a bit: how does the rain taste? How does it feel to have rain-wet hair? Comb it with your fingers, and focus on the sensations.
A rainy day can be a wonder if you engage with the world with all of your five senses. Why feel gloomy when you can experience a breadth of different sensations? A walk in the rain can be joyful and meditative.
Moreover, engaging with the world around us this way changes the usual narratives we tell ourselves. It’s a critical part of building resilience and a growth mindset. The power of reframing experiences and seeing obstacles as opportunities is an important life skill.
We have the power to choose to feel enlightened by our experiences. We feel peaceful and content when we let go of attachments and observe things as they are. Walking in the rain is an excellent way of doing that since it reminds us that we belong to nature, just like rain.
How to Meditate While Walking?
Finally, what can you do to start a walking meditation practice? Here are a few ideas on becoming a more mindful walker:
Pick the Environment
Do you feel like taking a stroll in the park or want to visit a forest? Maybe a trip down the city streets can help you feel more joyful? Pick the city, the greenery, the rush, or the calmness based on your inner state.
Check In With Your Body
Check-in with your body as you walk. Pay attention to each step. What does your body tell you? Do you feel light or heavy, stiff or relaxed? Observe your sensations.
Tune In to Your Surroundings
What is happening around you? What is the weather like? Can you feel the wind? Are there cars passing or people talking? Try to tune in to the surroundings and grasp the sensations in your field of awareness. Don’t get carried away thinking about them––simply acknowledge the changing scenery.
Notice the Movement
Focus on your gait, how your arms swing by your body, and how your steps touch the ground. Feel the ground push you back with every step.
Focus on the Rhythm
You can also focus on the rhythm of your movement. Acknowledge your pace. Notice the rhythm of your arms and legs as they move. Return to the rhythm of your breathing and movement every time your mind wanders away.