What do you think about when you’re walking? We all walk for different reasons…to get somewhere, to take a break, to clear our heads. And yes, a quick walk can do wonders for our minds; we all know the endorphins can get us into a better state. But have you ever really been mindful whilst walking?
I published an earlier post on mindful eating which talked about really thinking about the food you eat, where it comes from, the tastes and the textures; really getting your mind to be aware of what is in front of you and the same can be applied to walking. We all have busy lives and seemingly need to rush from one thing to another. When we walk we tend to be distracted with all the thoughts that are swirling around in our heads and rarely aware of the sensations of walking and breathing.
Mindful walking can be a really amazing exercise to do. Of course, it’s not easy to be mindful every time you walk somewhere but I encourage you to try it out at least once especially on a beautiful, sunny day 🙂
Before you start walking just take a minute to stop and be aware of the sensation of the soles of your feet on the floor, notice where the weight is strongest (on the toe or the heel, the inside or outside of the foot). Also notice what you see around you, what sounds you can hear or any strong smells. Take some deep breathes and really be in the present moment.
Begin walking at your natural speed with no need to rush. Just maintain the awareness of what’s going on around you.
Begin to notice how your body moves as you walk; how your arms, legs, hips and feet move. Notice how your right and left leg moves, how your feet lift off the ground, experience the physical sensation of the soles of the feet on the floor. Maintain the sensations of your body’s natural movements.
Notice your breathing. Feel the air entering your lungs and slowly release it. Really feel the sensation of your chest expanding and your muscles relaxing. When you become distracted by thoughts, just bring your focus back to this continuous motion of breathing
Continue this for 5-10 minutes (or the duration of your walk). It’s absolutely normal to get distracted by thoughts but when you’re aware of this happening just focus your attention back to the breathe and the physical sensations.
At the end of your walk just take a few moments to notice your surroundings, the sights and smells again taking in the space around you.
Mindful walking can really make a huge difference in our day. It has endless benefits like getting you out of that fog of thoughts, opening you up to a more universal mind shift, getting to know your body, connecting with the environment around you, strengthening your concentration and much more. And, of course, it’s really important for our well-being and happiness to take time out and just be in the present moment. Whether you’re taking your dog for a walk, walking to the bus stop or to the shops, in your lunch break or finding a specific time to try this out, you can incorporate this into your busy life. Even if you try it a few times it’ll be well worth it 🙂