Did you know that you can meditate while you walk? There are many types of meditation techniques, and walking meditation is an easy one that you can do anytime, anywhere. Try this at work, or while walking around campus.
How do you do a walking meditation?
Walking meditation is simply done by paying full attention to the sensations of your body when you walk.
- As you lift your right foot, notice the weight of your leg and how your balance adjusts. Think to yourself ‘right’ as your foot touches the ground. As your left leg lifts up notice the change in balance.
- Lift your left foot, and think to yourself ‘left’ as your left foot touches the ground.
- Notice what your body is doing. There is a lot going on – balance, weight shifting, muscles contracting and releasing. Notice how your weight starts on the heel and shifts to the front of your foot.
- The focus is on your feet feeling and touching the ground.
- It’s as simple as paying attention to your body as it walks.
- Your pace can be slow, regular or quick. At some point, try walking very, very slowly in some place where you won’t feel self-conscious (if no one is around, or at home). You will be surprised at how you will notice all the work your body is doing to complete a seemingly simple task.
Why would you want to do this?
This is a mindfulness practice, which means centering and grounding yourself in the present moment by using your body’s senses. When you are being ‘mindful’, you are bringing your attention completely to the present moment, which helps to refocus your attention away from ruminating about a past event, or worrying about some future event.
During your busy work day, it can be mentally difficult to take breaks. Think about all the opportunities you could create for yourself to do a brief walking meditation while you are walking to the printer, to a meeting or heading to the washroom. No one will know you are doing this, and you can grab these wonderful, frequent opportunities for a mindful moment just for yourself.
Walking meditation is a wonderful alternative to the traditional seated meditation, and is great for people who are always on the go.
You can even try a standing meditation when you are waiting for an elevator or the bus. Again, simply notice what your body is doing to just stand, and notice that you are likely not completely still at all. Using the body to ground yourself into the present moment is always available to you, whether seated, standing, walking or running.
Wendy Quan is a certified organizational change manager who has created an innovative way to build personal and organizational change resiliency through meditation and mindfulness. Wendy has a top winning, published paper on this subject with the worldwide Association of Change Management Professionals, speaks at conferences, and has been interviewed a number of times on her success. Wendy is a leader in the change management community and founded the Vancouver Change Management Practitioner’s community of practice. Her career has also included management in human resources, organizational development, leadership coaching and information technology.
Through her change management experience and successful journey through cancer, Wendy delivers results in a practical, open manner that has broad appeal and evidence-based benefits to all levels and roles in organizations.