A walking mindfulness meditation for people with ants in their pants.
As a kid my parents called me “Squiggle” because of my refusal to sit still. 46 years later and I’m pretty much the same although I move a bit slower. Seated meditation just isn’t my bag. So when my friend Tammie taught me this walking mindfulness meditation a few weeks ago on her retreat in Sri Lanka, I felt like I’d finally found the answer and I wanted to share it with you all.
What is Mindfulness?
Being ‘mindful’ simply means being more present. Being more conscious of where you are now. Not thinking about the shopping or the email you received this morning that made your blood boil. Instead your focus is right here, right now.
Mindfulness meditation doesn’t belong to a particular faith – it belongs to everyone.
Mindfulness meditation does not have to be performed in lotus position. There are no rules. What matters is that you find a way that works for YOU and your body.
How it works is that you focus on something – be-it your breath, the flame of a candle, or your footsteps. You focus your mind so that you become more present.
I get pins and needles if I sit for too long, so this walking mindfulness meditation is right up my alley.
Why is it so incredibly awesome?
The benefit of this mindfulness lark, and the reason that a lot of psychotherapists/psychologists are using mindfulness meditation in their client work, is because it helps to create a gap between your thoughts and your emotional response to that thought.
So for example if you tend to be impulsive, it helps create a time gap between your thought and your reaction to that thought. Or if you are anxious, it helps you stop being immediately overwhelmed by a thought.
So to speak in plain Australian, it helps you “calm the f…. down”.
Which has wondrous benefits for your nervous system and how you feel within yourself.
Sounds good hey? Let’s get into it.
How to do Tammie’s Mindfulness Walking Meditation
Tammie’s version is based on a Buddhist style of walking meditation, so everything is repeated 3 times. However, you don’t need to be Buddhist to do this. This is just one style of walking meditation.
What you will need:
A pair of bare feet and preferably some legs above that.
A piece of ground to walk on barefoot that is free of bindi and cruel-shaped pebbles. You need to find yourself a little ‘pathway’ that is around 10 of your paces in length.
How to do it:
- Stand at the beginning of your path. Focus on your path ahead and say to yourself inside your head “Standing, standing, standing”. (NOTE. you can talk out loud if you want to. My neighbours already think I’m a little bit eccentric, so I’ve got them primed, but you may want to preserve your reputation).
- Begin your walk, saying in your head “right, left, right, left, right, left” etc as you move your feet. Walk ‘mindfully’ at your own pace. Try not to look at the ground, focus on your path ahead. Concentrate on your walk and the sensations you feel under your feet.
- As you near the end of your path, say in your head “Stopping, stopping, stopping” and come to a gentle halt.
- Then as you turn around say “Turning, turning, turning” to yourself.
- Then start walking back along your path again and saying in your head “right, left, right, left, right, left” etc
- Keep walking back and forth for as long as you want. I usually do about 5 minutes (or until I get tripped up by a cat).
I like to finish my practice by looking mindfully around my garden at the flowers, insects and plants. Somehow the colours seem more vibrant and the insects much noisier. I have a mini Alice in Wonderland moment (without the shrinking or psychopathic Queen of Hearts).
I think what I find most soothing is the sensation of the soft ground beneath my feet, my total immersion in a natural environment and finding my own gentle pace through life.
I hope you enjoy doing this walking mindfulness meditation. I’d like to thank Tammie Day for introducing me to this practice.
Let me know how you go with your own practice – I’d love to hear from you.
If you need a bit of peer encouragement to do a mindfulness practice why not try one of my weekly Release classes or come to one of my workshops (which I usually hold at home/in the garden because it is so peaceful).
Or you can book to see me for a 1:1 session.
Here’s a link to some more mindfulness exercises that you might find useful https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
Tammie Day runs fantastic retreats for women (sorry guys) in Australia and around the world. I just did her trips to India and Sri Lanka and I loved it! For more info go to https://vibrantwomen.com.au/