A mindfulness practice with origins in Buddhism, meditation can help you become more aware of your body, thoughts and surroundings. There are more types of walking meditation such as Vipassana, Kinhin and Theravada and they mostly involve a pace slow and backing back and forth in a straight line, in a labyrinth or in circle. Basically, these techniques are breaking each of your steps into six parts, while you breath and sing a mantra or simply stroll mindfully in a certain space.
Meditative walking can have several effects on your general well-being. Here are some of them:
- Boost blood flow
If you have a sedentary life waking meditation can help you alleviate the feelings of stagnancy and sluggishness, by increasing the blood flow to the legs. This technique boosts blood circulation and your energy levels so if you know you sit at work for long periods of times, walking mediation might be for you.
- Improve digestion
Movement can improve your digestion, especially if you walk after you ate. So, if you feel full or heavy, walking meditation is also a fantastic way to help food move through the digestive tract and prevent bloating, cramps, constipation or other digestive problems.
- Reduce anxiety
If your stress levels are up you might find that walking can reduce the symptoms of anxiety, especially if it’s combined with a meditation practice. Studies made on people who suffer from depression or anxiety showed significant changes in the stress levels of those who either walked before meditation either meditated before walking.
- Improves blood sugar levels and circulation
Practicing mindful walking can have a positive effect on blood sugar levels and blood circulation. A study made on people who suffer from type 2 diabetes, showed that Buddhist-based walking meditation can lower high blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications.
- Alleviates depression
Physical activity is very important for our general health but it can also improve our mood. Since old people have an increased risk of developing depression, practising walking meditation can boost their fitness levels and help them experience fewer symptoms.
- Improves well-being
It’s known that a walk in the park or in the garden can help you feel more balanced and boost the overall feeling of well-being. This is the reason why in Japan, the practice of forest bathing became so popular. A study made in 2018 showed that a 15 minutes’ walk in the bamboo forest can promote relaxation, enhance brain activity and decrease the anxiety levels.
- Improves sleep quality
Exercise can help us regulate our sleep and improve its quality. Walking meditation reduces the muscle tension and improves our flexibility, helping us feel better physically but also clearing our mind so we can drift off and sleep well every night.
- Makes exercise enjoyable
When you incorporate mindfulness into your exercise routine, directing the notice of your sensations in an objective, nonjudgmental way, you can make that activity more enjoyable and connect to the exercise in a different way.
- Inspires creativity
Mindfulness can help you gain clarity about your thinking patterns, enhance your problem-solving skills and stimulate creativity. So if you want to support the cultivation of new ideas, try meditation walking before an important project or every time you feel you can’t figure out a solution to the present situation.
- Enhances balance
If you make mindfulness walking a part of your daily routine and learn to be present in each moment by focusing to your breath, your bodily sensations and everything that surrounds you, you can encourage a better balance and coordination. Just tune into your thoughts while walking slowly and observe your feelings as they come and go. Try to be aware of your ankle’s movements and the sensations in your legs, keep your steps relaxed and enjoy the pleasure of walking.
You can try practising seated meditation too and notice the differences between these practices as you progress. It takes time and patience to cultivate this new habit but it will give you all sorts of insights the more you deepen it. You can use a journal to write down all your experiences or talk to a therapist to reflect on the progress you make.