Mindful Walking

by Jeffrey Siegel on May 18, 2015

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you’re walking toward are goals, aspirations, and dreams of a better future. Things you’re walking away from are fear, discomfort or negativity that is holding you back. Spend a few moments identifying things you would like to walk into and things you’d like to walk away from. Then, with each step, see if you can gently let go of things you’re walking away from and walk toward your best self, each step embodying the qualities, traits and goals you wish to fulfill. In this way, walking empowers you to unite your mind, body, and heart and soul in a way that supports your dreams and desires.

Mindful Walking Practice

Practice focusing your attention on the act of walking itself. Having the mobility, strength and neuromuscular control to walk is a gift we often take for granted. Bringing our attention to the act of walking can help us appreciate our ability to move through our environment with ease and grace.

  • Let yourself feel what it is like to stand, feeling the ground beneath your feet.
  • How do you shift your weight along your feet as you walk?
  • What do you notice about your legs, torso, arms and head as you move?
  • Expand your awareness from your body to your mind and consider:

—Where is your mind now?
—What are you thinking about?

Notice how your thinking mind wants to be active. It is common to find yourself lost in thought; over and over just bring your attention back, with gentleness and compassion, to the sensations in your feet.

To read more about this topic, please see "Stepping Out of Fitness Reductionism" in the online IDEA Library or in the March 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Siegel

Jeffrey Siegel IDEA Author/Presenter

I consider myself an astute student of human nature, a heath geek, and lover of movement. After suffering from an eating disorder as a teenager, I was driven to learn all I could about creating a healthy mind-body relationship. My academic background in neuroscience and biology in conjunction with graduate work in Buddhism and developmental psychology, allows me to fuse fitness with a scientifically and spiritually grounded whole-person approach to healthy living. I now run an integrative health coaching and personal training business in Boston, helping people develop and sustain healthier habits for happier lives.