(Note: This is an adaptation of one of our blogs.)
Mindful walking is a great self-care option and supplement to therapy. Spring, summer and fall are ideal seasons to jumpstart this practice—with pleasant temperatures and milder weather. However, walking in the winter has its own joys and benefits. The bottom line is that anytime can be the time to start your walking practice!
Mindfully walking is basic activity you can do—as long as your feet and legs are functioning sufficiently, a safe walking route is available, and you can tolerate the weather. No special clothing or talent is needed. If walking independently is not an option for you, you can still be mindfully “on the move” with someone else’s assistance and/or participate in another type of mindful paced movement—perhaps using a walker, wheelchair, standard or motorized bike, etc.
There are many reasons that people mindfully walk. Some are motivated by its benefits to physical and emotional health. Others do it because it is an easy way to take a break, relax and be present in the moment. Some walk because they find it a meaningful vehicle to set the tone for the day or finish the day off. For others, walking is a chance to rebalance when they feel restlessness, confined, sad, overwhelmed, frustrated, etc. Walking offers an opportunity to explore gratitude and joy in our lives. When done in nature, walking can be a lovely way to feel a sense of wonder for your surroundings and let it rejuvenate and inspire you.
Mindful walking often is thought of as something you do alone, but it can also be done together with pets and other like-minded individuals.
You can plan out in advance how you will go about your mindfulness while walking (to help with your planning, see our Mindful Matters Tip Sheets for Tips for Mindful Walking). Alternately, you could utilize audio walking meditations—if you are looking from such meditations, start with an online search. The key, whatever your mindful walking methods, is to “arrive with every step” (meaning be present in the walking).
“When you walk, arrive with every step. That is walking meditation. There’s nothing else to it.” Thích Nhất Hạnh, How to Walk.
Good luck with your mindful walking. Enjoy.
Image and article by Kristin Littel