30 May 2022
Think about the last time you went for a walk. Did someone call you part way round and you were stuck on the phone? Were you listening to music or a podcast? It’s natural for our minds to drift when we walk; our attention shifts elsewhere. We have something for you to try: walking meditation.
Walking meditation is your time to listen to your body and calm your mind. It’s amazing for your mental health and helps you to be aware of your surroundings. It is designed to bring your body and mind in sync whilst you are out in nature. It’s a great way to train the mind in awareness.
Being in the present moment is so important. Each time we move away from the present moment, we forget to appreciate our surroundings. We don’t take a step back, embrace nature, and just breathe.
Walking meditation is a great way to bring our attention to what’s going on around us rather than the thoughts flying through our head. A lot of people associate meditation with sitting there with their eyes closed, but this isn’t the only way to meditate. It’s all about being mindful and bringing our attention to whatever environment we are in.
If you are a patient at Willow, we would be happy to send you the link to download our walking meditation that you can listen to as you walk. This will help you to train your mind to be in the present moment until you can do it on your own.
If you aren’t a patient at Willow, or if you would prefer not to listen to our guided meditation, here are some steps you can follow to bring meditation and mindfulness into every walk that you do. This could be a fast-paced walk on your way to work, or when you are taking a gentle stroll through nature.
Take the time to notice how your body is feeling. Are there any areas of tightness that you can feel? Be aware of your posture. Walking with your hands in your pockets is not good for your posture as you walk, so try to avoid this.
What can you see?
Bring your attention to what you can see around you. Are there birds singing in the trees? Are their children playing in the park?
What can you hear?
What’s going on around you? Are there people talking or birds singing? Cars passing by? Don’t spend time thinking about these sounds. Just acknowledge them.
What can you smell?
Bring your attention to anything you can smell. They might be pleasant or they might not be so pleasant. Some scents might seem familiar to you and remind you of a certain memory that you have.
The most important thing about all of this is to only notice these things, acknowledge them and let them go. Don’t spend time thinking about it because it will bring you out of the present moment.
Next time you go for your walk, try walking meditation. The more you do it, the easier it will be for you to get into a state of awareness and embrace the present moment. You will reap the benefits in the long-term.