Having a hard time clearing your head lately? What if I told you there’s a way to do it, one that gives you a chance to exercise both your body and your mind? It’s called walking meditation. As the name suggests, it combines walking and meditation into one. I have a daily practice that I’m happy with and wanted to share some tips with you. I am a believer in the positive change that meditation can bring to your life.
In the past year, I’ve supplemented my mindfulness practices with walking meditation. I work at home and also own a fast-growing tea company, so finding the opportunity to truly relax, clear my mind and focus on me is a challenge. With walking meditation, I can get out of the house, clear the mental cobwebs and negative chatter, with a touch of physical fitness at the same time.
Here are some things for you to consider if you want to incorporate this into your daily or weekly routine.
Choosing a route is really, really important.
We’ve all had those really deep, nourishing walks where mental clarity comes. That’s sort of what walking meditation is all about, but bringing more awareness and intention to it. That’s why I suggest you consider your route before moving forward, and to set your intentions from the start.
Quiet routes are ideal, for the obvious reasons, but also consider routes with less physical obstacles, whether that’s bikes or cross walks, so you can enjoy creating space with some fresh air and fresh perspective. If you need to drive or walk to a specific place of peace, consider the transition time as part of your preparation.
While choosing a route with intention may seem obvious, it’s not something I did initially, and the best route for you might not be obvious.
Go into airplane mode. Literally and/or figuratively.
I want you to be safe, and I want you to have nice music if you want it, so take your phone with you. However, the urge to get the incoming bounty of app notifications will be too great for even the most zen of humans, so put your phone into airplane mode. Those emails will be there when you’re ready for them.
Regarding listening to music, sometimes I do grab some “meditative music” set to very low volume and sometimes I don’t. It’s up to you, use your intuition to decide what you need, and if you can’t decide, try it both ways and compare.
Go deep instead of trying to go far.
In my experience, it is better to do two laps around the neighborhood dog park and get a deep sense of clarity and mindful awareness as opposed to walking several miles just to get the mileage in. This is not a competition.
Don’t worry about how fast you walk or how far you go. Focus on what is happening on the inside. A five minute lap around the block might be enough. Ask yourself, what do you need right now? Listen to your body, it has messages for you.
End your experience with a reflection.
Once you have finished your walk, I’d like for you to close by reflecting on your experience – preferably with a journal and a cup of tea to jot down any notes you might have to follow up on later. What did you feel or notice during your walk – either in your body or things that you came across along the way. What is the difference between how you feel now compared to how you felt earlier?
*For more from Andy, visit Plum Deluxe.