Why you should try walking meditation

Shutterstock.com/ Bucha Natallia

The benefits of meditation have long been proven yet many of us sadly do not have the time or patience to sit in a room and stare at a candle for an hour every day. However, the term meditation is often misunderstood. You do not have to sit still to meditate, you don’t have to cross your legs and you don’t have to chant a mantra. These are all different techniques that have helped people find a deeper sense of relaxation (or spirituality if done for religious reasons) and how you find that sense of relaxation may be very different. Meditation is all about thinking at a deeper level with a high sense of focus. One of the best forms of meditation is while walking.

Walking meditation sounds as simple as the name suggests. The approach is not something new as it has origins in ancient Buddhism. There are no strict rules in walking meditation except that you should practice mindfulness. There are many approaches. Some suggest that you walk in small circles or back and forth while others allow you to walk for long distances.

Depending on which approach you follow a walking meditation may be very meticulous in approach with each aspect thought of and a rule created or it can be very open with the idea that you simply go for a stroll in an open space. If you are a runner you may notice that sometimes you are able to lock your mind on one idea and have incredible focus. This can create a flow that makes the time go faster. This is in itself a form of meditation.

There are endless benefits to walking meditation as it is good for both the body and the mind. One of the greatest benefits is the increased blood flow. If you sit for long periods during the day then sitting for another hour to meditate is not a good idea. Instead, take a walk and give your body the break it needs. You will find you have more energy when you finish.

Walking is great for digestion too. If you feel like your stomach has not been playing fairly with you for a few days start going for a meditative walk after dinner every day. This should help digestion and fight constipation.

Numerous studies have now shown that including meditation as part of your walk is a great way to reduce stress. A session of only ten minutes was long enough to show positive results. Other studies have shown that walking meditation can help combat depression. While exercise has been proven to be fantastic at fending off depression, walking meditation is another tool that proves very useful.

In 2016 a study compared people who practice normal walking and Buddhist meditation walking. Both groups experienced benefits from the increased exercise but the group who practiced mindful walking showed a great improvement in blood sugar circulation. This means for anyone who has diabetes, walking while meditating is a great approach. 

The results across all studies showed countless benefits to mindful walking. While some of these benefits simply captured the benefits of exercise, the majority were showing that exercise in combination with a clear and focused mind can deliver powerful results. The link between the mind and the body is not yet fully understood. For years athletes have understood that to achieve consistent success it is important to train the mind as much as the body. The number of top athletes that use visualization techniques, meet with sports psychologists, and practice meditation is increasing. Start your path to a healthier life by introducing meditation to your exercise today.

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