One of my favourite mindfulness practices is mindful walking.
Mindful walking is good if you’re feeling a little restless or when your mind is agitated. But it’s also good as a way to bring your attention back to the moment again and again, and that’s the essence of mindfulness.
Mindful walking is as simple and as complicated as maintaining – as best you can – your awareness of the fact that you are walking.
- You might try to be aware of each footstep.
- You might harmonise your walking with your breathing.
- You might note sounds around you.
- If you are walking at home you might notice creaks in floorboards.
If you try to do all these things at once, you will end up in a knot. So it’s best to settle on just one or two ways to do this practice. I try to be aware of my feet against the floor and of sounds.
As with other mindfulness practices, when you realise you have drifted away in thought, just notice what you are thinking about and then return to your walking.
Some people like to walk mindfully and slowly in a circle or back and forth, often in a location, such as a meditation centre, which is set aside for that purpose.
But if that’s not your scene, or if you don’t have such a place to go to, you can practise mindful, normal walking in everyday life using the simple methods above.
The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn is an advocate of mindful walking. You can read a (long) article by him on this practice on the Lion’s Roar website at this link.