• Tips for Mindful Walking

    Last week, our blog was on mindful walking. This week, to help with your planning for how you will go about this practice, we are offering tips to get started.

    Tips for Mindful Walking 

    • Plan to mindfully walk on a regular basis as much as possible (e.g., at least two of the five days you walk). For example, I mix my walking modes up—I “free walk” with no agenda or just with music one day, mindfully walk a couple days, and at least once a week try to walk/talk with family/friends.  
    • Just get started with walking (after a little stretching is always a good idea).
    • Walk at a pace comfortable for you.
    • Begin relaxing your body and mind by breathing in and out deeply, in rhythm with your walking (e.g. breathe in deeply over several strides, then blow it out through your mouth (like you are using a straw) over several strides. Repeat breathing in and out deeply several times.
    • Then settle into your walk by connecting with your surroundings–
      • What do you see? Take your time noticing. What stands out?
      • What do you hear? Take your time noticing. What stands out?
      • What do you smell? Take your time noticing. What stands out?
      • What do you feel … on your skin, your body, your face, your hair?
    • Now focus on your body in motion. What are the physical sensations involved in walking today?
      • Can you feel your feet come into contact with the ground as they stride forward? What does it feel like?
      • Can you feel your legs as they move one after another? How do they feel?
      • How are your torso, shoulders and arms moving in concert with the movement of your legs and feet? How do they feel as you move?
    • If you become lost in thought/mentally “checked out,” simply return to the sensations of walking in your body and/or connect with your surroundings.
    • Speed up or slow down the walk as you wish. Can you feel any changes in your breathing or other body sensations as you change your pace?
    • Continue alternating between awareness of your body and your surroundings, in whatever way feels most comfortable, natural and calming for you. (For example, I get the most contentment from noticing nature around me, so I tend to go heavier on environmental awareness during the heart of my walk and use deep breathing and body awareness as “bookends” to start and finish the walk.)  
    • Walk mindfully for as long as you want. Enjoy!

    The tips are available as a downloadable 1-page PDF via our webpage, Mindfulness Matters Tip Sheets

    Article by Kristin Littel