There is probably nothing I love more than getting outside and taking a walk. When we walk mindfully we can take in the sights, smells and sounds in our surroundings. It’s another way of engaging in a mindfulness practice.
Walking can provide us with an opportunity to connect to our senses and support our relationship to the peace and pleasure of the present moment.
When we are walking with intention we have the ability to notice what’s going on internally and externally. We notice the clouds, the breeze on our face, and our hair blowing in the wind. We can pick up the smell of freshly cut grass or the dew in the morning after a night of rain.
Walking with intention can help to bring a calm awareness as you turn your attention to what the body is experiencing and as you bring your awareness to feeling your feet as you walk.
This walk can be done on your way to the car, walking down the hall, or in a park. All it takes is to bring awareness to what you notice while you’re walking. I like to head out to a park where I know it won’t be too crowded and I can go at my own pace. Mindful walking can also be done when you are feeling stressed or anxious as a way to ground yourself in the present moment.
Connecting with your senses
- Choose a foot to start with. Pick it up, move it through space, and gently place it on the ground. As you move your foot feel the sensations of each part of this process from heel to toe. Notice as you lift it up, how it feels to move it through space and what it feels like as it touches back down to the ground.
- Walk with intention instead of auto-pilot. This might feel strange, especially at the start, but that’s okay. This intention that you are bringing to the practice is a way to reconnect with the present moment and what you are feeling right now. When you really feel your foot on the earth it helps to ground you into this moment.
- Allow yourself to notice what’s here. Notice as much as you can about picking your foot up, moving it through space and then putting it back down. It’s normal to feel a little wobbly as you start out. This is normal and part of what happens when we notice the details of what we’re doing.
- Focus your attention. Focus on the feelings of your feet making contact with the ground. Can you notice a difference between thinking about your feet and feeling them making contact? Can you allow yourself to experience what it’s like to be grounded and connected as you make a conscious choice to be present for this walk.?
- Feel your surroundings. If you are outside for this walk, notice the feel of the air against your skin. What do you notice?
- Notice when thoughts take over. Thoughts of the day, list making, maybe running an old conversation or story through your mind? When you notice thoughts taking over you may also notice that it become more difficult to connect with your senses. That’s how powerful thoughts are. It’s why we talk about getting lost in outr thoughts. When this happens, just notice and gently choose to redirect your attention back to the feeling of your feet walking.
Here is a walking meditation from my upcoming 21 day meditation challenge: From Overwhelm to Ease. You can find out more about it here.