Like exercise, the beneﬁts of meditation are many, and scientists and doctors are always ﬁnding new ones, from easing stress to improving focus to facilitating healing on all levels from heart health to immunity.
There is a way to combine both exercise and meditation, and you can do it outside in nature, whether that nature is a sylvan glade, a seashore path, or the sidewalk between apartment buildings.
Here is a walking meditation practice based on the zen technique kinhin, which might seem familiar if you have ever intentionally walked a labyrinth. It can be done inside or outdoors, but try for as much fresh air and greenery as possible. It’s best to plan your route in advance. Knowing your destination means you won’t have to make decisions and can pay attention to each step.
1. Stand up straight and take a deep breath
2. Hold your hands in such a way that they don’t swing around but won’t cramp either. I like to fold mine in front of me, the left held in the right.
3. Synchronize your breath with your pace. Inhale and step slowly and deliberately, exhale and take another step.
4. Begin to walk, paying attention to lifting your foot and placing it on the ground, then lifting your other foot and placing it on the ground.
5. Continue to walk in this careful, controlled manner. Don’t force it, but don’t saunter either.
6. As with any mindfulness practice, when thoughts arise, look at them and let them go. Don’t ignore, don’t judge.