Going for the morning walk or evening stroll is so refreshing, right? It is something that we do without much thought, but it has the potential to change our mood and mental health. Mindful walking takes it to the next level and further amplifies the benefits of walking.
Here are six ways to be mindful and get the most out of your next walk.
This is pretty basic, all you have to do is notice yourself walking as you walk, making your body movements the centre of your attention. You might also be able to detect subtle shifts in your pulse, body temperature or breathing rate. This simple activity can calm your mind.
Add Words or Phrases
Here, with each step, you say a word. For example, say thank you and send compassion to your feet and body as you move. You can also count in rhythm with your steps. And whenever your mind wanders off, you return the count to one again.
Sensory walking involves tuning into our five senses as we walk. Keeping your eyes still, notice how the view changes as you walk. Then, focus on the soles of your feet. Then, focus on the sounds – of your own footsteps, and the surroundings. Lastly, focus on the smell and tastes in the air, see how they change as you move.
Body Awareness Walking
Shifting your attention to different body parts while walking is a unique way to practice walking meditation. Begin by bringing your attention to the soles of your feet, then after 20-25 steps bring it to your ankles and calves. Then, to the bending of your knees, and later to your hips. After that, to your arms and hands. Followed by your torso, neck and shoulders. Lastly, on your head. It leads to increased awareness of your body.
Focusing the beauty around us while walking leads to long-lasting effects on our mood after we rest. Notice a blooming tree, a shaft of light, a nicely coloured car or house – something beautiful, funny, or wholesome.
While you walk, observe your own emotional reactions to everything (and everyone) around you. This makes you aware of the small feelings of self-consciousness, like a slight pleasure when you feel the breeze on your face, or a little dread as a steep climb approaches. You’ll notice that when you feel confident, you walk confidently, and vice versa. Deliberately feel different spectrums of emotions like anger, sadness, calmness, etc., and notice how your walk changes with it.
Mindful walking can reap in the benefits of meditation in your mind and body. Follow these steps to awaken your conscience, happy walking!