The practice of a walking meditation allows one to be physically and emotionally grounded.
• It does not require special skills, facilities, or expensive equipment.
• You can practice walking meditation either indoors or outside in nature.
• It can be done by people of all ages and abilities.
• Many people with disabilities are able to engage with assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or walkers.
The components of each step.
Walking meditation involves very deliberating thinking about and doing a series of actions that you normally do automatically. Breaking these steps down in your mind may feel awkward, even ridiculous. But you should try to notice at least these four basic components of each step:
the lifting of one foot;
the moving of the foot a bit forward of where you’re standing;
the placing of the foot on the floor, heal first;
the shifting of the weight of the body onto the forward leg as the back heel lifts, while the toes of that foot remain touching the floor or the ground.
The cycle continues, as you:
lift your back foot totally off the ground;
observe the back foot as it swings forward and lowers;
observe the back foot as it makes contact with the ground, heel first;
feel the weight shift onto that foot as the body moves forward.
You can walk at any speed, for many walking meditation program walking meditation is slow and involves taking small steps.
What is most important is that it feel natural, not exaggerated or stylized.
Hands and arms.
You can clasp your hands behind your back or in front of you, or you can just let them hang at your side—whatever feels most comfortable and natural.
Focusing your attention.
As you walk, try to focus your attention on one or more sensations that you would normally take for granted, such as your breath coming in and out of your body; the movement of your feet and legs, or their contact with the ground or floor; your head balanced on your neck and shoulders; sounds nearby or those caused by the movement of your body; or whatever your eyes take in as they focus on the world in front of you.
What to do when your mind wanders.
Your mind will inevitably wander it’s perfectly natural. When you notice your mind wandering, simply try again to focus it one of those sensations.
Integrating walking meditation into your daily life.
The more you practice, even for short periods of time, the more it is likely to grow on you.
You can also bring mindfulness to walking at any speed in your everyday life, and even to running, though of course the pace of your steps and breath will change.
Over time, you can try to bring the same degree of awareness to any everyday activity, experiencing the sense of presence that is available to us at every moment as our lives unfold.