I was taking a longer than usual walk with my doggo last week, squeezing in the extra exercise, when I found myself in the middle of a walking meditation.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with walking meditation, the simplest explanation is that it’s meditation…while walking. I went on my first meditation walk several years ago and shared details and tips. Check out Walking Meditation: Mindfulness On the Move for quick information on walking meditation vs. still meditation as well as how to understand, prepare for, plan for, and reflect on a general walking meditation.
Here, let’s talk about how walking meditation for dealing with the stress and anxiety of this coronavirus pandemic.
Understand Your Mindfulness Meditation Walk
People engage in walking meditation for a number of reasons.
For our purposes, your reason is related to COVID-19. Maybe you’re worried about your job (or lack thereof), stressed about trying to work from home with your family quarantined, or anxious about you or a family member contracting the coronavirus.
Be clear on your reason so you’ll know what to meditate on during your walk.
Prepare for Your Walking Meditation
Some general ways to prepare for your meditation walk include:
- Wearing comfortable and weather-appropriate clothes and shoes.
- Choosing a time when you have enough time. You don’t want to feel rushed.
Preparing for a walking meditation during the coronavirus pandemic means you’ll also need to pay special attention to:
- Choosing and planning your course. Big, open spaces where you can practice social distancing (or, better yet, not run into anyone) are better than city sidewalks.
- Wearing personal protective equipment. Wear or carry with you a mask and bring some gloves. Maybe bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
Plan Your Mindfulness Walk
During my first meditation walk, my coach divided the walk into three parts and instructed us to meditate on something specific during each part. For example, during the first part we focused on our breath; during the second part, our senses. During the third part, we focused on the charity we were supporting.
You can organize your coronavirus mindfulness walk into different parts, too. For example:
- First Part: Meditate on how life was before this global pandemic. Think about things that made you happy, people you enjoyed spending time with, places where you liked to hang out. Remind yourself times were good once, and they will be good again.
- Second Part: Pay attention as your lungs expand with air, as your arms and legs swing with each step, as your skin reacts to the sun (or lack of). Feel how it feels to be healthy and not sick with a terrible virus. Meditate on how grateful you are for that.
- Third Part: Meditate on how you want life to be once the coronavirus pandemic is over. Are there any parts you want to leave behind? Are there any new parts you want to bring along? Do you want to do anything a little (or a lot) differently?
That’s just one suggestion, of course. You can meditate on anything you want; it’s your mindfulness walk.
Reflect On Your Mindfulness Walk
When your mindfulness walk is over, don’t rush to get home (or, if you’re already home, don’t rush to start some new activity). Don’t let everything you gained from your meditation walk slip away; take a few minutes to reflect:
- What did you learn on your mindfulness walk? Did you come to any realizations? Reach any conclusions?
- Did you enjoy meditating while walking? Did that aspect of it bring you any more benefits than sitting while meditating?
- Was there anything you’d change about the walk so that you’re next one was better?
Maybe you’d like to journal these things.
Remember, walking meditation probably isn’t your best option if:
- You don’t have access to a safe place to walk. Nature you’re familiar with (say, a mountain trail) or even a sleepy suburban sidewalk are better options than downtown in a crowded city. You must still be able to keep six feet or more away from others.
- You don’t have someone at home to watch your children while you’re out. Unless your child is still in a stroller and you can plan the walk around nap time, chances are bringing your kid would be too distracting for a meditation walk.
- Leaving your home during quarantine causes you more stress, anxiety, and panic than it’s worth. Obviously, a meditation walk is supposed to help ground and center you, not make you even more upset.
How’s the weather look in your hometown this weekend? Maybe you’ll want to take a meditation walk! Be sure to come back and let us know how it goes.