This practice can be done at any time and in any space. This exercise is particularly useful as a way to bridge the gap between sitting, still mindfulness practice and how we live our lives, in motion. When practicing mindful walking, the point is not to get anywhere, but instead to pay attention and notice each step one takes. The outcome is not so important as the process of moving through space and being aware of the activity we are participating in.
In preparation to walk mindfully, you may want to find a “lane” to walk back and forth in; this path should be unobstructed and only needs to be about 10 feet maximum. You will walk to the end of your path, turn around, and return to your starting point, and repeat. The object is not to get anywhere, but instead to practice being mindful while in movement.
Once you have found your path, take a moment to establish a mindful posture, back straight with shoulders relaxed, facing forward, feet making contact with the floor, hands resting easily at your sides or together near your belly. Let your eyes gently close for a moment and take one or two mindful breaths. Notice the breath come in and leave, paying attention to the sensation of breathing.
When you are ready and feel grounded in the present moment, begin to walk. You may walk at whatever pace you wish. Some people may take a considerable time to cover the distance. Pay attention to what the ground feels like beneath your feet. You can use a mantra to gain a walking rhythm, “heel, ball, toe” or “lift, move, place.” If you notice your mind has wandered from the breath or the feeling of walking, congratulate yourself for noticing, and then gently place your attention back onto the breath or the sensations of walking.
As your mind wanders, which it surely has or will, notice that it has wandered, and maybe note what it’s wandered to (e.g., planning, anxiety, boredom, what happened previous to this), and then ask your mind if it would return to the present, becoming aware again of the breath or your feet contacting the floor.
Remember, the idea is not to get anywhere, but to simply be walking, to know what it is to walk, to investigate and be curious about this activity.
Notice the sensations of walking such as the weight placed on one foot as the other is lifted, the shift in balance, and the pressure placed on different sections of the foot.
The breath is always available as an anchor to the present. If you find your mind wandering a lot while paying attention to walking, see if you can just stay with the breath for the next few moments.
The next time you attempt the walking meditation, find a safe outdoor location to take a brief 10-15 minute walk. Instead of walking back and forth on a short path, extend your walk to a loop or trail where you slowly walk in a pleasant outdoor setting. Again, the goal is just to appreciate moving your body in an environment and to focus as much as possible on the act of walking. During this 2nd attempt you might spend time focusing on sounds in the environment, smells, or other visual stimuli.
For this assignment, please complete the following:
Write a written reflection in Microsoft Word or another program, and save and attach the file as a Microsoft Word or pdf document.
Address some of the following questions in your paper:
What did you notice about the experiences?
How was this activity different from any seated/still mindfulness exercises you have done?
What barriers or negative experiences occurred?
How is this exercise related to being mindful in life?
How could you incorporate mindful walking into your day?
Student must list and describe in detail at least 5 specific components for each assignment with depth