I learned mindfulness meditation when I was 17. It was really out of curiosity than anything else. I really need something to keep my hyperactive mind occupied back then. But little did I know this ancient technique will still serve me well, almost two decades later. I’m not sure what mindfulness meditation means to you. If you think you it is mystic or it is a religious thing, I didn’t blame you for thinking so but let me assure you that it is neither.
Meditation has got its root deep in the ancient religion of Buddhism and Hinduism. But the simple mind relaxation exercise that I’ve shown in my previous post, has nothing to do with religion. Neither does the mindfulness meditation guide, which I distribute for FREE, has anything to do with religion.
Mindfulness Meditation Is Not About Religion Or Culture.
It is a method of training our mind to be aware of our senses and of the mind itself by following clear and proper instructions. That is what mindfulness is all about. It increases the signaling condition of your brain, or axonal density, according to this article in Huffington Post.
I’ll do with just dragging one scientifically backed benefit of meditation today. I’ll probably list another 10 or more in my next post.
Enough of my rants.
But what came to your mind when I mentioned meditation? I suspect that most of you would have imagined a yogi sitting in a cross-legged position, just like the picture below.
And these are the normal questions that people asked when they first meditate.
“Do I need to sit for 30 minutes to practice this mindfulness thing?”
“I don’t have half an hour to spare in my days”
“I am too old/young to sit still doing nothing”
Who Said Mindfulness Meditation Is All About Sitting?
Well, in fact, the first form of meditation that I learned is the walking form. Unlike the more popular form of sitting mindfulness meditation, the walking meditation has received less publicity.(I’m not sure why) But it is the easier form of mindfulness meditation to learn for beginners(at least that’s what I felt back then).
Why is it easier?
Simply because it is easier to get drowsy and fall asleep when you are sitting (Yes, I’ve had my moments of ‘sleepitation’). And also the fact that the walking movement is much easier to observe than the breathing part of sitting. It takes much more concentration to observe the finer sensations of the sitting mindfulness meditation.
It is also easier to apply the mindfulness method in walking meditation to your daily walking activities with minimum modification of the instruction. You can use almost everything that you do in your meditation session in your regular stroll down the park or when you are walking your way up to your office.
I actually did, about two hours ago, just to get the exact right words for what I felt immediately after a session of mindful walking.
So How Do I Walk Mindfully?
The keyword is “Walk” and “Mindful”. And here’s how to clear your mind with simple steps :
- Walk at a normal pace. Slow enough for you to be aware of your foot touching the ground.
- As each foot touches the ground, mentally note “Right Foot” or “Left Foot“.
- If you find yourself thinking something else, dinner or some unfinished work, gently bring your thoughts back to your walking again.
- Do this for 5 minutes.
- Congratulations, you have just successfully completed 5 minutes of mindful walking.
At the end of your 5 minutes walk, here are a few things I want you to note:
- Do you feel like a heavy cloud being lifted from your mind? (I asked this because I felt so)
- Does your mind feel more calm and focused? (with less stray thoughts).
- Does walking feel easier?
I know the third question sounds silly, but I just want you to feel if the footsteps feel lighter? As if you are filled with light and positive energy.
Does It Really Works
It works for everyone, but it could be difficult if you have never meditated before. And no, the above is not the proper meditation instruction. It’s just a simple mindful walking technique, derived from the walking meditation practice.
It depends on how well you understand the instruction. And how open your mind is to meditation. If you are doing the practice and having doubt at the same time, then it will be counter-productive, because you are not being mindful in your walking.
That being said, having practice mindfulness meditation myself, I still find it good to couple it with guided meditation audio such as Live In The Present Moment. It helps to get you into calmer meditative state, especially if you are a beginner. It does take time to develop our ability to bring reach calm meditative state instantly by ourselves.
Here’s A Challenge For You
If you drive or commute to work, then I guess you probably spend the morning thinking about the day’s agenda. This is what happened to most people, they spend most of your morning thinking and worrying about stuff and they become stressed up by the time they reached their workplace.
If you have the habit of doing so, I want you to use what I’ve shown you, not for the entire journey, but just for the few steps after your parked your car or gotten down from the transit to your office. Let me know if there’s any difference to how you start your day?
Do this again after you left work. Take a few mindful steps before you enter your house. Don’t take your work problems back to your home. Let me know if it works.
Have you tried mindfulness practice in your life? Do you think mindfulness is key in having a productive day? Share your thoughts at the comments below.
This is a great way to clear your mind. I’ve had a good read, and your article will help lots of guys who are constantly thinking about stuff, and not really stopping – And taking a thorough look about their situation. You know, it’s similar to what I do whenever I am stuck or need to find answers: I simply go outside for a 20 min walk, without the phone, without mp3, without ANYTHING – And literally just walk mindfully not thinking about anything. The answers comes so fast and this technique work out incredibly well for me…
Thank you for your comment. Mindful walking does wonder to our mind. But actually practicing the meditation itself take the whole thing to a higher level. I’m glad you found a great way to relax in your walks.
Thanks for your great post. I LOVE walking meditation. I use to do it all the time, so thanks for reminding me to take it up again. I also like to meditate when i wash dishes or fold clothing. Nothing special happening other than just watching my thoughts and paying attention to the sensations in my body and the crazy thoughts passing by. Thanks for this great post. Your site is great Kenny! Best of luck to you
It’s awesome when you are being mindful. Negative thoughts have no control over you when you watch your mind. Thanks for dropping a comment.
Very interesting site and thank you for providing this helpful information. After reading your content I began to think that most every person out there has stress to deal with . Some more than others. I have a high stress life, therefore your site really hit home. I agree that meditation does not have to be religious nor does Yoga meditation. I am a bible believing christian and back in the 80s and 90s just like bad rock and roll, Yoga and mediation was frowned upon. Things have changed. That was all hype. Meditation, I believe, is personal. WOuld you agree that you CAN make it religious if you wish. For exmaple, I dont have to be worshipping Allah or buddha while meditating. Where did meditation come from anyway? Is it ancient asian? Who started it? Anyway, when I meditate just like everyone else meditating I pray while doing it. I pray to God and Jesus and come into his presence while mediating. It works great. Meditation clears my mind, clears my stresses and on top of it I am praying to God who helps me through my days when I ask. Thanks for sharing
You can make meditation personal and religious if you like. Meditation is said to have it’s root from Hinduism. Mindfulness meditation has its history from Buddhism. But it’s really hard to trace the root since its centuries ago. It wouldn’t be surprising if it pre-dates religion. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a good method to relax and clear stress.
Feel free to add prayer when you are meditating. Personally I believe that meditation by its own is good to clear of our mind but there’s no harm making it religious to suit personal taste.
For me, I’ll be happy as long as it works.
I am a stress freak, I really need to start meditating since one can simply do it by walking. Now I can meditate everyday when I am walking or driving to work.
Yes. You can relax your mind with walking. It’s quite simple really. Hope it helps.
Hey, I like the content you offer. Its very interesting and informative. I’ve heard a lot about meditation, but never new that there was a “walking form” of meditation. I have tried the most popular form of sitting down and like you stated, I always go too drowsy to even focus which isn’t very useful at all. Ill be trying the walking form, and im sure that will help. Thanks for the quality content. 🙂
Most beginner, including myself used to get drowsy when we go into sitting meditation immediately. Even now I start with walking before going into sitting. It is easier to transition our mind in this way.
I’m new to this concept and mindful walking and really willing to try it and practicing more often would be an ideal thing to do sound like. Great to know this is one of the ways to relax and also can be done while I walk, never thought about it like that. And if this going to help to clear my mind then I definitely need to do it more often.
It was great read and I have learned the things I never new about. I really like to walk and be able to not to think much about anything. Very intersting form of meditation that is seems like.
I might also try sitting excercise for change and just do more often the walking meditation.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and keep delivering more of it in the future please, thanks.
I would suggest trying the sitting after the walking relaxation technique. It is easier.
Do let me know how it feels after a mindful walk.
Hello Kenny =)
Fantastic topic to discuss as it’s crucial that people understand the mindfulness isn’t about religion or mysticism etc.
“Mindfulness Meditation Is Not About Religion Or Culture.” – Kenny
Loved the walking meditation instructions and will be applying them.
A good way I practice present moment awareness is to ask myself “Am I Present Now?”
I find that asking myself that question automatically throws me into the moment of now.
Thanks for giving me some tips of one of my next title. You’re the second one to do so.
What I’ve shown is just a mindful walking technique. The actual walking meditation is more in depth and detailed. I’ll be working on a FREE guide for that.
A good way to reconnect with the presence. But the question is how long does it take until we realize we are straying away from the here and now?