Mindfulness of Walking

Walking meditation can be explained as another process of mindfulness. This technique is inspired by many practitioners; it can be easily practiced and enjoyed, walking while doing relaxation. In time one can use this meditation anywhere, in any situation where one meets time and space in the classroom, at the office, in a park and anywhere in the house. This technique helps develop a greater strength of awareness, as well as suppleness of mind. The object of awareness is the action of slow walking at the beginning. “Total attention is placed in the action of the feet as they move and connect with the ground, harmonizing the action of walking step by step with the breath” (Levete, 2001, p.22). The practitioner begins the walking practice by standing on the spot, and should maintain an erect body with heels together. While standing, pay attention to standing; acknowledge the standing and move the walking foot.

Acknowledge the lifting of the right foot and move the foot forward with full attention on the heel. Lower the foot and place it on the ground with total awareness of placing. The walking practice consists of three aspects: ‘Lifting’, ‘moving’ and ‘placing’. Acknowledge each aspect of walking mindfully, focusing on the movements of the walking process until reaching the end of the allotted walking path.

The practitioner should stop with both feet together in the standing position with acknowledgement of ‘standing’. When one turns around by rotating on the heel, acknowledge each aspect of the turning motion: the turning of the heel of one foot and the lifting and placing down on the ground of the other foot. Focus on the standing posture and begin to walk back. The walking practice is more beneficial if one follows as slowly and as mindfully as possible. When feelings, thoughts and sounds arise, acknowledge them and repeat mentally ‘thinking, thinking, thinking…’. After a few moments, bring the attention to the walking practice.

Dhammananda (1987) expresses that the practitioner should not resist the disturbances, because then one will be concentrating on the resistance and lose the mindfulness on walking.