Mindfulness of walking – walking meditation

Wherever we walk, we can practise mindfulness of walking, or walking meditation.  We walk just for walking. We walk with freedom and solidity, no longer in a hurry. Then we are present with each step.

We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness of walking indoors

If we’re walking slowly indoors, we can take one step and say “In” silently.  It means, “Breathing in, I know I am breathing in”.  For as long as the in-breath lasts, continue stepping with your left foot.  As soon as the out-breath begins, begin stepping with your right foot. Say the word “Out” silently, which means, “Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.”

Just take a step and know you are breathing in, and take a step and know you are breathing out.  That is all you need to do.  There is nothing else besides that.  If we put our whole body and mind into one step, we are successful in walking meditation.

mindfulness of walking outside

Mindfulness of walking outdoors

We can practise mindfulness of walking outdoors as we walk in the park, or as we walk to the bus-stop, or in the countryside.  When we practise outdoors, rather than taking one step with each breath, we take two or three steps for each breath.

We may like to use a gatha, or short poem as we walk. Taking two or three steps for each in-breath and each out-breath, one line for each breath,

[Breathing in] “I have arrived, [Breathing out] I am home,
In the here, In the now
I am solid, I am free
In the ultimate, I dwell”

Walking in this way should not be a privilege. We should be able to do it in every moment. Look around and see how vast life is, the trees, the white clouds, the limitless sky. Listen to the birds. Feel the fresh breeze. Life is all around and we are alive and healthy and capable of walking in peace.

Let each of us walk as a free person and feel our steps get lighter. Let us enjoy every step we make. Each step is nourishing and healing. As we walk, imprint our gratitude and our love

Watch Thich Nhat Hanh demonstrating mindfulness of walking

To buy ‘Walking Meditation”, a book and dvd guide, please visit the Community of Interbeing book service

Thay leads mindfulness of walking