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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mindfulness Walking and its Benefits

Mindfulness is spreading across the country like wild fire. Every day a new mindfulness teaching center is launched and almost instantly becomes overwhelmed with new clients.

Mindfulness is becoming so popular so quickly because of the benefits it provides and the speed in which those benefits are realized.

When I became a resident of HealthRight 360's Hayes Street facility, a drug rehab center, I knew nothing about mindfulness walking or how it was going to help me change my life I knew a little about meditating because I'd learned how to meditate twenty years prior at a church function so I knew the benefits of a good meditation practice first-hand.

Someone invited me to take the mindfulness class at HealthRight 360 and I agreed not knowing I was in for a real life change.

Mindfulness Walking is Easy to Practice

Mindfulness walking is so simple yet so incredibly powerful it won't surprise me when everyone embraces it as a way of life. Moreover, walking mindfully allows you to literally step into the present moment any time you wish.

The more you practice mindfulness walking the easier it becomes and the benefits increase as well. Read the text below.

Development of Mindfulness in Daily Life

The practice of walking meditation helps develop mindfulness in everyday life. Buddhist author and teacher John Ciancosi explains it this way:

“If you can learn to establish awareness during walking meditation—when you are physically moving with your eyes open—then it won’t be difficult to arouse that same wakeful quality during other activities…Your meditation will begin to permeate your entire life.”

By supporting mindfulness, walking meditation, Ciancosi continues, “keeps your consciousness alive and alert to reality, thereby transforming ordinary life into a continuous practice of meditation, and transforming the mundane into the spiritual.” 

This meditation in action trains the mind to be wakeful and aware, increasing the sense of mindfulness in everyday activities. Because it can be practiced in short periods of time—even during normal transitions from car to office, for example–walking meditation is easy to incorporate into daily routines.

Health and Well-being

Walking meditation has health benefits even beyond the benefits of sitting meditation. The slow, methodical movements relieve stress, calm the body, and focus the mind—all of which are essential for optimal health and well-being.

Many practitioners find mindful walking to be more relaxing than sitting, especially during times of high stress. While it may seem paradoxical, walking meditation can be both relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

Mindful walking can help relieve arthritis, improve digestion, and reduce drowsiness after eating. When done for extended periods of time it increases stamina and strength, which are important for overall physical fitness.

Peace of mind is not the least of the benefits of meditation and walking. Just a few minutes of mindful movement calms the overactive mind. A break in the daily routine allows mental stress to lessen and insights to flow, leading to creative solutions to troubling problems. 

When meditation and walking occur outside the senses can take in the sights, sounds, and aromas of the out-of-doors, giving the mind a focus and a break from what can be a destructive obsession with problems and internal distress.

Mindfulness Walking Meditation Benefits

  For some, walking meditation creates a bridge between everyday life and sitting meditation, easing the way into sitting. The movement seems to quiet the body after the activity of the world and allow it to settle into practice naturally.

For long periods of sitting, mindful walking is a way to relieve the physical discomfort of the seated position without interrupting the formal meditation practice.

Staying in the Moment 

As with seated meditation, walking is a way to train the mind to stay in the present moment and reside in a wakeful state. Concentrating on the steps and movements of the body is another tool for cultivating mindfulness and keeping distractions at bay.

Walking meditation heightens awareness, concentration, and serenity; it can enhance the meditation practice, leading to new levels of mindfulness, freedom, and joy.