Many people say they don’t meditate because they can’t sit still. Not a problem. Walking can be a form of moving meditation. People find walking meditation easier than seated meditation because the motion of the body helps them to stay anchored in the present moment.
Both walking and meditation are good lifestyle choices and an antidote to stress. Together they offer significant health benefits.
Health Advantages of Walking
Walking has been proven to help in: maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, improving coordination and strengthening bones and muscles. It also aids in regulating moods because it boosts brain chemistry and releases feel good endorphins. Walking can even prevent or control heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. ¹
Health Advantages of Meditation
Meditation can give a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. It helps clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to stress. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day increasing patience, imagination and creativity. ²
Where to Walk and Meditate
Find an open space away from noise and traffic. Forests and woodlands provide wonderful restorative environments where you can enjoy walking.
There is rising evidence that forests and green spaces contribute to our physical, mental and social well-being. Exposure to natural environments, forests specifically, has stress-reducing effects due to their attractive landscapes, light conditions and air composition (including natural essential oils). In addition, they can be inexpensive to visit, enabling everyone to be included in their health benefits.
Turning Your Walk Into a Meditation
Begin by standing with your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides. Take long, slow and deep breaths. As you exhale, let go of any unnecessary tension, smile softly, and let your attention flow deep into your hips. Relax your pelvis, to a neutral position, (neither tipped up nor down). Feel a connection to the heavens with the top of your head and to the earth with your feet.
Next, coordinate your breathing with your steps, taking several steps with your inhale, and several steps with your exhale. Keep a relaxed pace with no thought of “getting somewhere”.
Once you are comfortable coordinating breath and movement you may become aware of other body sensations, the smell of the forest or the feeling under your foot as it makes contact with the forest floor.
“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Kissing The Earth
Try this beautiful visualization: Each time you place one of your feet down, imagine that you are kissing the earth through the sole of your foot. Each time you pick up one of your feet, imagine that a beautiful flower is blossoming in the place that your foot just was. “In this way, our walking becomes a way of expressing our love for the earth, and of creating beauty with each step.” ³
If something beautiful or interesting catches your eye while walking and you can’t let go of it, stop walking and do a looking meditation. Find God in the stillness.
Where there is gratitude, there is love, growth and healing.
If you are not close to a quite spot to walk and meditate, I recommend this Relax-n-Renew CD download for your headphones.
Be blessed, Linda
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. – Psalm 96:12
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