Daily Walking Meditation: Weekly Habit Practice

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  • April 20, 2017
Daily Walking Meditation: Weekly Habit Practice

The Weekly Habit Practices are mini-challenges intended to help you fine-tune different aspects of your health and wellness. Offered between Challenges, these practices address fitness, nutrition, stress reduction, productivity, and personal connection — because health is about far more than food and the gym (and we could all use a little practice).

Experiment with Walking Meditation This Week

Simple Instructions:

  1. For the next seven days, walk for at least a half mile each day with no particular destination in mind.
  2. You are not walking to anywhere. This is a walk for its own sake, and should be considered personal time.
  3. Use your walk for deep breathing, generating calm, and to tune in to your surroundings.
  4. If you live somewhere with poor weather, consider walking anyway — just be sure to dress for the conditions.

Why Is This Skill Important?

Most of us underestimate the power of this basic form of human locomotion. It is good for our body in many ways — it strengthens everything from our feet to our hearts.

But it is also excellent for our mind. Leisurely walking has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms in women. Walking regularly can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. And walking can even stabilize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.

But many of us approach walking as “exercise” — so what happens if for one week, you viewed it as a mode of meditation instead of transportation?

This week’s walking is simply about being in the world and observing it with fresh eyes. It’s not about burning calories or active recovery. It’s also not about emptying your mind, shutting off thoughts, or reaching some mythical state of bliss. Your focus will be to remain present to the moment, and just let your thoughts pass through without judgment.

As with any sort of meditation, it’s best not to get caught up in doing it “right,” but that doesn’t mean clearing your mind is easy. Here are some tips:

  • Start with some deep breathing. Inhale for 3-5 seconds, then exhale for 3-5 seconds.
  • Imagine a wave of relaxation starting at the top of your head, passing through each part of your body, until it works its way down to your feet. Observe how your walking changes.
  • Be present to your feet. Observe the way your heel comes into contact with the ground, the way you roll across the middle of your foot, how your toes bend, and how your foot then travels through the air. Do this with each step.
  • Look at the world around you, but try not to focus on any one thing. If there are too many distractions, let your gaze follow the edge of the sidewalk or drift to the horizon.
  • Some people find it helpful to calmly count their steps.

If you find your mind has gone down a rabbit hole of thoughts, find something around you to bring you back to the present — notice a flower, a building, a piece of street art, or a beautiful tree.

You might discover something new about your neighborhood in the course of these daily walks, but even better — you might discover something about yourself.

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Becca Borawski Jenkins
Becca is a bit like a cat — she’s gone through a few “lives” to get to her current one (with which she’s quite pleased). She earned her MFA in Cinema-Television Production at USC’s famed film school, and her first career was as a music editor (if you’ve watched Scrubs, you’ve likely heard her work). Becca found her way to career number two through martial arts. She began training in BJJ and muay Thai and started working with professional MMA fighters, building websites, working on fight promotions, and producing videos.

As a competitor in BJJ herself, Becca wanted to get stronger and fitter. In 2005, she became a student at CrossFit Los Angeles where she met WLC co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck. In only a couple years, she became CrossFit Level III Certified, left her entertainment career, and dedicated herself full time to coaching, serving as the Program Director of CFLA and founder of the CFLA CrossFit Kids program.

After seven years as a music editor and then eight years as fitness instructor, Becca segued to her current career — full-time editor and writer. She and her husband are full-time RVers and have a first-hand comprehension of remote work.
  • Grif Frost

    Aloha Becca! Thank you. Big fan of walking meditation. Practice it daily but with one significant innovation(?). I do it barefoot. Started with experimenting doing my daily exercise sessions at the Hilo Health Co-op barefoot (CORE 3 times per week, MQ (Medical QiGong four times per week). Then started doing a bit of barefoot running. Then barefoot driving. Then barefoot, well, everywhere including business meetings. My balance has improved dramatically, and aches and pains in joints vanished. Will be 60 this year. Of course I live in Hawaii, BUT pretty certain I could do this almost anywhere (we do have 20 of the world’s 23 microclimates on Hawaii Island). Barefoot REALLY heightens the awareness of walking meditation.

    • http://www.wholelifechallenge.com Becca Borawski Jenkins

      Aloha, Grif! That’s fantastic — good for you for going barefoot! I first learned walking meditation through martial arts, and we used to practice it barefoot on the Santa Monica beach. Good for the body, mind, and soul!

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