Hate flying? I sure do, but with a solid walking meditation, all aspects of the flights I take go much smoother.
Same thing with going to the dentist or making your way to the surgical table. Having a go-to walking meditation method takes the edge off.
Oh, and walking meditation helps create everyday stability too.
And since most of us walk at least a little every day, why not use that time to experience memory improvement?
The question is…
What is walking meditation?
It’s a means of practicing mindfulness and presence.
And how mindfulness and presence help your memory is about to be revealed…
3 Reasons You Should You Develop
A Walking Meditation Practice
1. Meditation reduces stress and causes your brain to release healing chemicals.
2. Meditation has also been shown to improve concentration and memory, likely because of how the practice makes you more attentive throughout each day.
And since you can’t remember what you haven’t registered, anything that increases your present-moment awareness is worth every second you spend developing it.
3. Meditation is a form of rest. In my own experience, a solid meditation of just 9-15 minutes can feel just as restful as a good night’s sleep.
Yes, meditation is that powerful.
Why Walking Meditation Is Bliss On Wheels
And the fact that you can meditate on the way to the grocery store makes everything about the practice even better.
Instead of frittering away the time on useless thoughts and worries, you can focus on your physical being in the present moment. You’ll enjoy life more and experience increased health.
Both of which can lead to more time in which to enjoy your improved awareness.
To help you out, here are three relatively unheard of ways to kickstart one of the best habits you’ll ever develop.
1. Breath Counting Meditation
One of the easiest ways to start a walking meditation practice involves nothing more than tracking and counting your breathing.
Every time you breathe in, give the breath a number. Likewise, give each exhale a number.
I like to count each number twice, i.e.:
Out 1 …
Out 2 …
Out 3 …
You can count to as high a number as you wish.
Take note of anything that distracts you or causes you to lose count.
Then gently bring yourself back and start over at ‘1’ anytime you wish.
Leave Judgment At The Door
No matter what happens along the journey, it’s important not to judge yourself or cast evil spells against your memory if you lose count while practicing.
Simply allow yourself to practice.
If you choose to see it as a challenge, always do so in good spirits. If you set meditation of any kind up as a game, you will find it frustrating because if it’s a game, random thoughts will always win.
But meditation is not a game. If it were, the only way to lose is by not practicing it at all.
2. Syncing Counting With Steps And Breathing
Another way to count your breath as you practice walking meditation is to sync each breath with a step. You can create a number of patterns starting with a one-to-one correspondence.
To begin, inhale and step and then exhale and step.
Next, take two steps per breath. As you inhale, take two steps and then exhale as you take two steps.
Increase the number of steps you take per breath up until 10 steps per breath or until it feels uncomfortable.
The goal is to maintain focus on the practice, not pass out, so take care that you increase your steps slowly.
Follow your instincts and enjoy the process. Pay attention to everything happening to you, including heart rate changes and thoughts that arise.
3. Sensory Style Walking Meditation
You can practice the next approach on its own or in combination with breathing. The goal is to focus intensely on your physical body and its connection to the surrounding world.
Beginning with your feet, notice each area and how it contacts the ground.
Notice how your feet handle your weight and explore placing different levels of emphasis on various parts of your feet as you move. (You can also practice meditatively studying the way your feet contact the world while standing.)
From your feet, scan your entire body. Notice the sensations of your clothing on your skin.
Then, narrow your attention on the feel and temperature of the air.
Instead of hearing environmental sounds, practice experiencing them as physical sensations in your ears. (You can practice sound as a physical sensation with music too.)
The more immersed in physical sensation you become, the less random thoughts control your mind. You’ll find the world unbelievably peaceful when you take it as a physical reality without thinking about it or making judgments.
Take It To The Next Level With
Impromptu Memory Palaces
Once you’ve had some experience with walking meditation, try using the same immersive and breathing principles while reading, eating and even conversing with other people. You’ll be more involved with your life in the present moment.
You can also use the technique to help you create impromptu Memory Palaces:
It’s a super-simple technique and one you can use any time you wish in just about any location.
The Ultimate Walking Meditation Benefit
In a word?
Presence is the most precious thing in the world.
Because it helps you encode more information into memory.
But please note that meditation works best with regular practice. Many experts agree that a minimum of 4 sessions per week are required to experience substantial benefits.
I would suggest going in with an abundance mentality and meditating daily. The trick is to take it small at the beginning and enjoy the ride. Meditation is best learned by doing and walking meditation requires doing above all.
Like when you’re walking to your next flight and feeling anxious…
Or taking a trip down to surgery…
Don’t overthink the process. Don’t give in to analysis paralysis.
Instead, take action.
I’ve shared these three practices as a guide for exploration so you don’t have to do anything but implement the techniques.
And after you’ve taken action, then let analysis have a cameo.
Analyze what happens after you perform a walking meditation.
That way, you can improve your practice over time.
And do feel free to report your results. I’d love to hear what happens!