What is Mindful Walking?

What is mindful walking? It’s not complicated at all. For me, mindful walking is about paying attention. Paying attention to my feet on the ground, to the sound of my shoes on the pathway. Listening to the wind in the trees, tuning in to birds singing, watching the waves in the sea. Becoming aware of my thoughts.

How to do mindful walking

Try this on your next walk. You’ll notice that your body will relax, your focus will soften. You’ll notice tension leaving your body.

Then pay attention to your where your thoughts are now. Your mind will wander and you’ll start thinking about what to have for dinner. Or what to say to that client you’re meeting tomorrow.

walking boosts your health
Listen to the sound of the stones under your feet…

Do not worry. You are human and it is totally natural that your mind will wander. With mindfulness and mindful walking, all you do is notice that your mind has wandered. Bring your focus back to your breathing or to the sound of your feet on the ground. Or listen out for a bird singing in the trees and tune out everything else.

By focusing on your feet on the ground, you are literally grounding yourself. You are taking yourself out of your head and connecting to the earth.

Mindfully walk wherever you are

Mindful walking is something you can incorporate no matter where you are walking. It is also great for people who feel they are too fidgety for seated meditation. You can practice mindful walking for five minutes of your walk. Or 20 minutes of your walk. Whatever feels comfortable.  

It’s also interesting to practice mindful walking by walking very very slowly. Focus on your foot as it lifts to take the step and you place your foot back down again. This is a lovely exercise to do in your bare feet on grass. Feel your bare feet interact with the grass, feel the coolness or warmth of the grass. Ground yourself as your focus on your feet relaxes your body.

mindful walking in the woods listen to the wind in the trees
Don’t worry if your mind wanders! You’re only human.

The beauty of mindful walking is that it is so simple – and forgiving. When your mind wanders, do not worry. Don’t give out to yourself that you’re doing this mindful walking thing wrong. Mindfulness is very forgiving, there is no judgement. There is no right or wrong way of doing things, just your way.

Try it, I bet you’ll like it. Just relax, breathe, and take the first step. The rest will take care of itself!

Final word: Don’t forget to look up. Enjoy the views. Look as far as the eye can see. Soften your gaze. And marvel at the wonders of nature.

Saltee Islands Ballyhealy Beach
The Saltee Islands seen from Ballyhealy Beach, Co Wexford
Askamore Looped walks in County Wexford
Askamore Looped Walk in Wexford looks right across to the Irish Sea.

You might also like:

Discover Ireland’s greenways

In Praise of Walking – book review

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