When was the last time you walked alone – through the city, your neighborhood, or a small hiking trail? What was on your mind? Were you listening to your favorite playlist? Or were you too engrossed in counting your miles? Or were you lost in thought about someone or something? It is very common for our legs to move when our mind is wandering.
There are often many nay-sayers who have criticized walking meditation, claiming that it cannot derive benefits or good results from it. But, walking meditation is designed to bring body and mind in sync while we’re out and strolling. It’s a great alternative for those who don’t like to sit and close the eyes to meditate, as this trains the mind in awareness. The art of walking meditation is to learn and to be aware as you walk. It uses the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness.
Setting up a Biological Clock
Although mindful walking is less of a leap from modern life than a sitting mindfulness practice, the habit can still be a tough challenge to develop. I would like to list a few research-backed strategies that can make your practice easier to sustain.
To make something look like an effortless habit, it’s necessary to have a trigger that will remind you to do the activity regularly. One of the most available strategies is to use an app like Google Calendar on your smartphone to set a daily reminder which will help to be free to go on a mindful walk.
Another strategy is to practice your mindful walk immediately before or after your work every day, and similarly on days when you don’t have work. Consistency is the key here, and it will make the habit substantially easier to maintain because your mind will begin to associate mindful walking with the specific time of day you set aside for your practice, developing a biological clock and effective muscle memory.
Mindful walking can lead to some healthy set of benefits compared to its seated counterpart. The practice brings you closer to nature and your body, as well. I’d like to share my top 6 reasons to give mindful walking a shot.
- Stress Reliever:
If you’re sitting at your desk at work struggling to come up with a solution to a problem to have more focus and energy – the answer just won’t come or feeling so uptight that you’re no longer productive. A small ten-minute mindful walk may be all you need to get back on track. It is a much welcome break from the grunting and pulling weights at the gym. It is also very much accessible to everyone.
- Embrace Nature:
There’s a shift in atmosphere when you walk on a treadmill and when you walk outdoors. Taking a walk outdoors can break you out of your countless chains of thoughts. The blissful obstruction of scenery may help you to shift your awareness to prioritizing your essential needs. As the noise of our crazy loud criticizing world fades off within the greens of nature. It calms your mind and you get to experience the silence and stillness.
- Builds Strength:
It is one of the most underrated exercises – it gets your body and muscles moving. That’s an added perk of moving meditations. When practiced for longer periods of time, walking meditation can actually build up your strength and stamina. It can also prove to quite helpful after a meal or upon waking up from sleep to maintain healthy body metabolism.
- Makes you Happy:
Different people have a different attitude towards meditation. Learn to do the things that you enjoy the most. Walking can prove to be invigorating and energizing for both the body and the mind, resulting in making you happier.
- Strengthening Bones:
An exercise, that does not make you sweat can help your body – you may find it hard to believe. This low-impact exercise prevents the loss of bone density, resulting in reducing the risk of osteoporosis, fracture, and injuries. As bones determine our framework, the stronger and healthier bones are it helps to improve you with your posture, stamina, and balance.
- Improves Concentration:
It is very difficult to forget, something that we have been taught in our early childhood i.e. how to walk. It becomes a natural process over a course of time. But once you start to analyze your walks and concentrate on it process you would realize the underrated nature of it. Walking helps to supply the brain with the required amounts of oxygen and glucose, which helps the same to perform better. Bottom line, it improves your blood circulation, which also helps the brain and cellular functions to perform to its fullest potential.
Omkar Kulkarni is a self-proclaimed art appreciator, a certified film reviewer and someone’s favorite human being.