Being outdoors has a great benefit on us, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Being cooped up inside will lead to feeling depressed, lethargic, and sore. Actually getting outside and walking will get your blood pumping and you’ll notice you feel a lot better if you regularly practice walking meditations, which will help to remove stress from the mind, heart, and body.
How to Start a Walking Meditation
Start by noticing everything around you. As new thoughts come in, let them drift away and let your mind naturally flow. It may be hard to keep your awareness on the moment at hand but here are a few ways to bring it back to the present:
• See. Actually look and truly see the colors of the grass, the sky, whatever is around you. Notice the shapes and the way things move when you are looking at them.
• Listen. What do you hear? Actually listen to the birds singing, your footsteps on the grass (concrete, rocks, etc.), hear the wind rustling through the branches.
• Smell. Wherever you are, you will be able to smell something. Can you smell Honeysuckle? Do you smell firewood being burned or the smell of fresh cut grass?
• Feel. Focus on how your arms feel swinging next to your body and how the air feels on your fingers. Focus on your legs and feet and appreciate how they can move you so steadily. If it is cold, feel the crisp air in your lungs. If it is hot, feel the sun on your face and hair and how warm it is.
You want to be able to focus on all of your senses and see how they are all affecting you at once. Once you have focused on your outside for a few moments, start focusing more on beginning your walking meditation. Slow down and let your breathing be the guide for your pace. This means that as you are taking a step, shift your weight forward with your inhale and step with your exhale.
As you are walking, relax your muscles and soften your gaze. You may have a mantra with each footfall, if you’d like or need help maintaining your focus. You can use two word mantras such as: “so hum (I am)”, “ease/flow” or “steady/sweet”. You can use this time to focus on words of your choice and they will help to increase your understanding of these words and of yourself.
Walking meditation is a great way to be able to meditate if you find sitting meditation to be too difficult. It is also great if you are on the way somewhere but still need to be able to bring your mind into focus. While doing the walking meditation think about your love for mother Earth, your appreciation for all that she does for all living beings walking on this earth, living on this earth and just say “Thank you!”
During your walk remember to:
1. Take it easy and slow down. Pay attention to your breath, as you breathe in you will notice your body relaxing and as you breathe out you will slow down your thoughts.
2. Pay attention as you take a step noticing which foot is forward and which foot is back. Notice your weight is shifting as you take each step. And again notice your breathing as you take each step and breathing out as you change your weight from 1 foot to the other.
3. As you continue the walking meditation and allow each foot to take its step based on your breath going in and going out.
b. Let go of stress and anxiety
c. Know all is well
As you walk, relax all the muscles in the body and especially on your face. Letting your face hold a gentle smile. Soften your eyes while gently gazing upward, putting your mind at ease and go into the alpha state of consciousness. Remember this is not a race, you’re not in a hurry and you are meditating as you slowly take each step, and your guide is your breath. The walking meditation helps to keep your body mind and spirit in the present moment. You are not worrying about the future and you are not trying to fix the past. You will constantly bring your awareness back to the now – – the present moment where all is well and you are at peace connecting with each foot as it touches the earth.
Grounding means running your energy down into the earth and that might be easier to do if you are barefoot on the dirt or you are standing on a patch of grass. Be careful you do not step on thorns, thistles or sharp objects because you do not want to hurt your bare feet. When you ground your energy into mother Earth there is a clearing and cleansing of the energy taking place. Often that alone will give you a healing as well.