Walking Meditation

Meditating while walking can sometimes be seen as a minor, or side practice to sitting meditation. However this would be a mistake. Walking meditation is a centuries old tradition, and many people today find it their most effective and enjoyable type of meditation.

As an “active” type of meditation – like Yoga or T’ai Chi – walking is particularly good for those with a too active or impatient mind to easily sit for 20 minutes. Walking calms the mind, and can feel constructive – particularly for those who sit often for work, or otherwise.

This type of practice can also be particularly good for when you are too stressed or upset to meditate sitting down, such as during times of emotional difficulty. It can also be alternated with periods of sitting meditation at any time, in order to meditate for longer periods.

Walking meditation uses the act of walking backwards and forwards to maintain mindfulness over one’s bodily sensations, and/or mental intentions. It is particularly important in Zen meditation, and the Buddhism of Thailand and Vietnam. By practicing walking meditation, you can become very good at integrating meditation into your everyday life.

Some Tips

  • Walk slowly. When we make slow, small steps, it enables us to break out of habit. We are more able to pay attention to the mind’s intention to put the next leg forward.
  • Walk inside, and outside. Walking outside lets us connect our meditation to parts of our lives we might otherwise think were not connected to meditation. Walking inside can better connect our sitting and walking meditations together.
  • Practice both feeling the ground on your feet, and noticing the intention to move forward, at different times in your practice, and see which you prefer.

Here is a video explaining in more detail how to successfully do this type of meditation.

To watch more tips and videos about this type of meditation, visit our Walking Meditation YouTube Channel.

Normal Paced Walking

Normal paced walking is generally not ideal for meditation, as it is so automatic it is difficult to be aware of your mind’s decisions to move a particular body part forward.

A traditional way of meditating whilst walking at normal speed is to use meditation beads (perhaps in a jacket pocket if you wish to keep them private). In this way you will be able to concentrate on something mindfully, or to use them to mentally recite mantras, even while you commute to work, or just get some exercise.

Further Reading

The book we most recommend is Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh