This mindfulness practice was borrowed from the book The Art and Science of Mindfulness by Shauna Shapiro and Linda Carlson. Our intention for including these mindfulness practices verbatim from the book is to allow others to experience the transformative power of mindfulness.
“Meditation can be practiced in any posture, including sitting, standing, lying down, and walking. Walking meditation involves mindfully noting sensations in the body while standing and walking. It is an opportunity to intentionally train the mind to pay attention in an open, curios, and nonjudgemental way, through attending to the process of walking.
To begin a period of walking meditation, it is helpful to find a quiet place, 10 to 20 feet in length, in which to walk back and forth. It is important to remember that you are not trying to get somewhere, or to walk for exercise; you are walking to develop mindfulness. It is helpful to first make an intention for the walking period, consciously reflecting on why you are practicing in the first place. Once your intention is clear, let it fall to the background of your awareness, and focus your attention on the sensations of standing, aware of your weight, the sensations in the feet, attending to all of the subtle movements and shifting that are in play to maintain balance.
When you are ready, begin to slowly walk to the end of the path, keeping your attention on the experience of walking. You can mentally not “lifting,” “stepping,” “placing,” as you actually experience each of these movements. Once you have reached the end of your path, pause, reestablish the body in standing, and reconnect with your breathing.
When you are ready, turn and begin to slowly walk back along the path. You can repeat this pacing back and forth a number of times for 15 to 30 minutes. If at any time during the walking meditation you notice your mind has wandered off, simply note “thinking” and then reestablish your attention on the physical sensations and movement of walking. Also continually check in with the quality of your attention; is it becoming tense and rigid, or are you able to keep it soft, fluid, and open? When you have completed the walking period, once again reflect on your intention, and thank yourself for taking this time to cultivate mindfulness.”