Walking Meditation

Dr. Roxane Chan leads a guided walking meditation.

June 9, 2020

Welcome to a guided walking meditation. Walking meditation can be done inside or outside, taking care to select somewhere to walk that is safe and mostly unobstructed with traffic or other people. If at all possible, do this exercise barefoot. You can listen to this audio recording as you begin your walk and then turn off the audio and walk in silence. After a few times walking with the audio guiding you, you'll be able to walk mindfully on your own by following the five basic ideas of mindful walking. I connect with myself. I feel the flow of movement in my body. I am walking to bless the earth and be blessed by the earth. My destination is the here and now. My walking has no particular goal and my breath guides my movement.

As with all actions done mindfully, we start with centering and connecting ourselves within our own body and awareness. We release all that has taken our attention previously and be ready to accept the next experience with our whole attention, free of preconceived judgments, solutions and distractions. Start with your breath at your nose, and then follow the sensation of breathing to your chest and then to your belly, allowing your belly to become soft with each breath, centering your belly for a period of time, and when you're ready, extend your awareness in both directions to the top of your head and to the bottom of your feet.

Appreciate all the muscles, nerves, and bones that will make movement possible. Be fully present in your body and begin to gently move in place perhaps by swaying gently, allowing yourself to feel the flow of movement before you even take a step. Begin your mindfulness walk with your first step by extending your legs slowly and letting your heel touch the ground. Become aware of the sensation of the earth as it meets your heel. Then with intention and awareness, slowly allow your foot to touch the ground from heel to toe until your whole foot is firmly on the ground, allowing yourself to sense the strength of the ground under your foot.

Bring your next foot forward in the same fashion. Walk with intention, allowing yourself to feel each step, paying particular attention to the sensation of the ground meeting your foot. Perhaps even noticing the nature of the ground, hard, cold, soft. Taking each step in turn, allowing your foot to meet the ground, heel, middle of the foot, toes, feeling each part of your foot meet the ground in turn. Begin to pace your steps with your breath. Let a pattern evolve comfortably, slowing your steps, reminding yourself that you have no goal of time or destination. Perhaps you were taking three steps on the inhale and three steps on each exhale. Slowing your breath, slowing your steps. Breathing down into your feet, acknowledging the support of the earth, walking along, taking a breath, kissing the earth with each footstep.

Make steps in such a way as you do not leave your anxiety or worries on the ground. Let yourself exhale them into the air as your walk, connecting to the earth only with love, leaving peace and love on the ground and the trail as you walk. Make a peaceful happy step, with your step, kiss the earth. With each step, let the earth spring up into your body and your heart. There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. The earth springs up into your body and your heart.

What is the here and now for you in this moment? If you are struggling with sending peace and happiness into the earth, examine what is in the way. Is there discomfort in your body? Allowing your breath to linger in this discomfort and begin to dialogue with sensation. What is it telling you? Perhaps there's nothing to know right now, just the sensation of the emotion. Sometimes when we move our body with intention, it allows emotions to come to the surface. No need to examine them in detail, just experience them.

Perhaps you are feeling some uncomfortable emotion like anger or sadness. Allow yourself to hold this discomfort like you would hold a crying baby, with love and gentleness and reassurance. No need to rush this sensation. Focus on the love of in each step and allow this sensation to pass through you, acknowledging it and releasing it through your breath when you are ready, returning to the sensation of walking on this earth. With each step, I kiss the ground. With each step, I accept and love myself. I leave a trail of love for the earth and all others who walk the earth. My body feels the flow of love through me into the earth.

I am calmly walking. I am quietly walking. I am breathing love into the earth through each step I take. Let yourself proceed in this way, accepting and centering in love while you breathe and connect with the earth. The only destination is into your own heart. The only time is the time you seek to be present to the earth. Stop when you want. When you have completed your walk, allow yourself a few moments to center your body. Bring your new awareness of your body and the earth into the day with joy and contentment. The earth will patiently wait for your return.