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.

The Whole Life Challenge asks you to examine your life through a different lens – your physical health, your emotional health, and your overall lifestyle. This eight-week challenge will improve your daily habits, leaving you happier, healthier, and more in control of your outcomes. If you’re ready for a change, this is your opportunity. Click below to learn more:

Register for the May 2017 Challenge
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Becca Borawski Jenkins
Becca found her way to a career in health and fitness through martial arts. Though she started with traditional martial arts, it was not long before she discovered MMA and her path was forever altered. 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. In only a couple of years she became CrossFit Level III Certified, left her career in the film industry, and dedicated herself full time to coaching. She also held an NSCA-CSCS from 2006-2008, is a certified IndoRow instructor, and holds a Level I DVRT certification.

Since discovering "paleo," Becca has taken natural living to a whole new level. She hunts, fishes, traps, and forages and creates recipes based on these foods. You can find some of these recipes on the website Hunt Gather Brew.
  • 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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