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Your 7 Step Walking Meditation to Benefit Mental Health

Part 1: Mental Health Awareness

May is mental health awareness month and the perfect time to start a walking meditation practice. In fact, during the pandemic while on chemotherapy I became a certified Deepak Chopra, MD meditation instructor. Together let’s get serious about teaching and learning best practices in meditation with the goal of sharing knowledge and improving our collective mental health. In fact, today and for the next 5 days, dedicate 5-10 minutes connecting to the earth with this seven step walking meditation.

Walking meditation can be done barefoot or with shoes.

The first steps in walking meditation are performed with the goal to simply be present. You can do this walking mindful meditation either indoors or outdoors. Mindfulness is to be in the here and now.

Ready, Set, Go Be Mindful

  • Touch the earth with your feet.
  • Connect the earth to your physical body.
  • Appreciate sensations felt from the soles of your feet through the top of your head.
  • Appreciate the colors present from the browns of earth, sand and wood to the blues of the sky and water. Be ready to receive sounds and smells that appear.
  • Focus on your senses throughout each step. Welcome your thought wheel of awareness.
  • Feel your toes off the ground, your heel strike, your leg swing, your arm swing and finally your toes come back to settle in your shoe or press into the grass.
  • This may seem like a lot of thinking and appreciating rather than meditating, but the goal is to exist in the present moment connecting mind, body, earth and spirit. Walk at least seven steps and either turn back or go forward another seven steps.

There are many ways to calm a negative energy without suppressing or fighting it. You recognize it, you smile to it, and you invite something nicer to come up and replace it; you read some inspiring words, you listen to a piece of beautiful music, you go somewhere in nature, or you do some walking meditation.

Thich Nhat Hanh (2009). “The Art of Power”, p.19, Harper Collins

Next with your steps, make your attention deeper. By giving the connection to the earth your full awareness you become more fully present. As your mind connects with your body and your environment, acknowledge any thoughts that present themselves. Expect thoughts to enter into your awareness. Replace the thought or idea with a present feeling, current body experience or walking connection. If thoughts such as to-do lists or yesterday’s events keep cycling in your head, pause from walking and focus on your breath. Inhale and exhale mindfully for a minute or two before restarting your walking meditation steps.

As the recently passed Buddhist monk, Nhat Thich, beautifully points outs, every path, every street in the world is your walking meditation path. Although true, definitely be mindful of your surroundings and take heed of safety and security warnings. Also, I’m a big fan of mindful barefoot walking, but if you’re diabetic or have blood flow issues to your feet, it’s best to keep your feet protected by covering with shoes and socks. Also, make certain your health care provider knows of your mental health status. Whether you are thriving, coping or struggling, highly trained and compassionate healers are necessary for us all. For more information concluding Part 1: Mental Health Awareness check out: https://www.mentalhealthishealth.us

What are your thoughts?

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