Springtime brings an idyllic and ever-progressing setting to reignite or embark on a practice of Walking Meditation, taking a planned route without any phones, watches or other tech, to simply observe, listen and reflect. Recently I’ve been taking my meditation in motion, finding that I can create the same stillness in my mind through Mindful Walking, without the restrictive stillness in my body. Leaving the house with just my keys feels so liberating, I’ve not just gained a higher awareness of my movement, breath, and environment surrounding me, but also in measure of time.
These cleansing strolls can be taken solo, or as a group with a facilitator guiding the meditative focus. Locations are totally variable, I like to take the same walk several times so I can re-engage with subtleties of change in a familiar environment, but there is just as much to be learned of our surroundings – and our place in them, in the city, park or bush.
Try planning a 20-30 minute walk, somewhere you know. Unless you have a strong singular – focussed meditation practice (which I am not blessed with!) its helpful to use physical markers such as laps of a park or distance between landmarks, as a tool to map out when to stop, reflect for a short period, and then begin a new path of observation.
For the first section of my walk I am wholly examining my ease of movement, gait, swing of my arms and pace of my breath.
A Pratyahara technique of tuning into my five senses will be the theme of the next section. Beginning inwards initially (my own smell, sounds of my body makes, flavours already in my mouth etc) and then absorbing all that the environment has to offer my five senses. This is why September is a perfect time for Mindful Walking! Notice the birdsong, new blossom, smell of cut grass, warmth of the sun against your skin, taste of barbecue in the air.
Finally, with a quieter mind, I will take deeper, longer breaths. Enjoying the tranquillity I have accessed and even start to acknowledge the rhythm of my breath with my footsteps, swing of my arms, sway of my torso.
On coming home, I am then able to mentally condense my experiences with a content post-meditation glow. If you are joined by a friend it might be insightful to discuss your journeys.
I am hopeful that we all have plenty of sunny days to step out and immerse in Springtime, finding as much beauty within ourselves as nature has to offer at this stunning time of year.