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A Guide to Walking Meditation

Zen and the Art of Multitasking

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Once you have learned how to meditate while walking, you can practice it anytime you have the opportunity to walk, whether it's a block of time you set aside to exercise or a short jaunt across the parking lot. When you get really good, you can even use it on densely populated walks with lots of potential distractions. Here are some tips that can help improve your experience:
  • Choose the method that best suits your opportunity, and if it isn't feeling right, try another method.
  • If you are practicing outdoors, stay away from high-traffic and heavily-populated walking areas. Opt instead for a park or a walking trail.
  • Give yourself about 20 minutes to practice for the first few times. If you feel it necessary, wear a watch with a timer, so your awareness isn't focusing on the time.
  • Practice safely. If you don't feel secure in your surroundings, you won't be able to focus inward.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • I'm not sure if what i used to do is "walking meditation", but I know that I miss walking terribly and that I was always soothed for having walked. I could walk miles and miles without fatigue. I'm working up to being able to do that again.

    I heard something in a video once that exactly what walking is for me: my body grows strong, and my mind relaxes. - 2/12/2016 2:21:36 PM
  • RWRIGHT62
    Hi, due to some physical limitations I will be walking on a treadmill at the Y, I should be able to adjust the mental/meditation aspects to fit into that setting with a bit of change in thought to accommodate my location shouldn't I? Any tips for walking meditation on a treadmill that might be helpful? Thanks! - 1/23/2016 9:52:02 AM
  • DANDYLINES
    The word "meditation" is a trigger for some people. Some have been taught it is not Christian. Though that is certainly not true, other people think it is allowing bad thoughts to come in or have other fears about the process. If the word meditation has a negative meaning for you rephrase it to "stress reduction walking", or "calming walk", or "walking with intention".
    Consider reading one of Julia Cameron's books, especially "Walking in this World". One of her basic "rules" is to walk with intention. - 1/8/2016 9:54:21 AM
  • This is a challenge for me as I know undoubtedly I will have thoughts enter in as I am walking but giving me something to focus on will really help. I echo others that sometimes just being outside and in nature helps calm me and put me in a great mental state. I am definitely willing to try this and see where it leads me...maybe later today even as I just finished my morning workout :) - 12/4/2015 9:04:19 AM
  • There are 2 Number 2 and no number 3.
    did this not bother anyone else? - 11/9/2015 5:56:06 PM
  • I read this after my walk today. My favorite part is focusing on my surroundings, such as grass, trees, sky, chirping birds, and the sun on your face. I love the sun on my face. Taking a lunch time walk breaks up the day and allows me to refocus. There's a peace that comes from walking. - 11/4/2015 3:13:25 PM
  • The two components of all meditation are relaxation and concentration; what differentiates one form from another is the object of concentration. I had severe ADD as a child (and young adult) and meditation did me worlds of good in making me able to control that (and I got other very good benefits from it too). I studied meditation as a martial artist, and did it simply by focusing my attention totally on my movement. Walking meditation is similar to that, but easier. You can also do driving meditation, housekeeping meditation, working meditation, and so on. The work ethic could be called the meditation of the western world (though not everyone who works does it): you just keep your mind focused on your task (or pay attention to what you're doing as they used to say). I got that idea after reading an article about a form of movement meditation practiced in China that imitated the movements of a worker in a silk factory. Self hypnosis is another very useful form of meditation I got a lot of good out of (but that's a different subject). - 9/3/2015 9:32:54 AM
  • ETHELMERZ
    I like to walk, gives me time to worry at my own pace, and not hurry the thought process. - 9/3/2015 7:26:51 AM
  • I would like to try labyrinths walking, but there are none near me. When the weather cools down a little, I might try walking on the beach. But right now, it's just way, way, way too hot. - 7/28/2015 10:41:09 AM
  • I have done this before. It is good to start out this way because it gets you to listen to your body. I used it to learn how to properly jog without hurting my back or calves too much and use my whole leg in proper motion. Once that becomes "muscle memory" than you can enjoy your surroundings :) - 5/29/2015 6:08:32 PM
  • I think you left out one type of walking meditation, and that is to be one with nature. There's no need to isolate yourself from nature. It's good to feel a part of it. Notice the color of the grass, are there clouds in the sky? Listen to the birds calling to one another, is the traffic starting to sound a little like music? Are your feet moving faster because your fitter, or you are at one with nature? - 2/12/2015 12:10:04 PM
  • This is an excellent article.....thank you! Although I walk for exercise and appreciation of beauty in the summer and fall, this is a different kind of walking and one that I will incorporate into my weekly regimen.
    - 2/12/2015 8:34:21 AM
  • JACIJUNE
    I think I'd just rather take a walk on the beach while the sun is setting and take in the view around me and be aware of how I move and try to relax. This seems like a lot of conscious concentration and not much relaxation. - 2/7/2015 3:00:56 PM
  • I already do a walking meditation and LOVE it. :) - 2/6/2015 6:26:51 PM
  • I am going to have to agree with EABL81 on this one. I live in the mountain area of Montana and all I need to do it focus on the beauty around me and I am transformed. Not that I can't give this a try but I feel like I am in quite a "meditative" state around here. I did walk a labyrinth in Hawaii once that was quite suited to this. Good luck everyone! - 2/6/2015 9:48:54 AM

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