The Simple Art of Mindful Walking

by Natalie Kiser

“Walking is the best medicine.” —Hippocrates

Everyone knows that walking is beneficial to our physical fitness and mental well-being. But often when we are walking, we rush, feel distracted by our to do list, or get overstimulated by our surroundings, especially in an urban setting. Yet no matter where you are, you can practice mindful walking. Whether in the middle of a crowd, grocery shopping, in your home, at work, or on a sidewalk—you can invite a sense of being present in each moment. 

Here are some simple touchstones to help you be more mindful and discover more pleasure when you walk.

As you begin to walk, feel your feet on the floor and let your eyes wander. Let your eyes take in colors, shapes, and objects. You can simply say to yourself what you notice.

If you decide to walk outdoors and find a patch of grass to walk on, feel free to kick off your shoes so you can feel the ground underneath you. 

As you continue to walk, let your eyes gaze upwards. If you are indoors, walk towards any window so that your eyes can take in natural lighting. If you are walking outdoors, take a moment to pause and gaze up at your surroundings. As you gaze up, feel your feet reconnect with the ground underneath you.

Start to walk again, bringing your awareness to your breath. Re-orient yourself to your surroundings. Feel free to stop and pause—give yourself space to be still, find a comfortable spot to relax.

Engage your senses. Take a moment to smell a flower, feel the wind, listen to the hum of the city, note the beauty of architecture, or street art. Bring your mind’s awareness to whatever object of interest presents itself. When you are ready to move on, take a deep cleansing breath and continue on your way—remaining mindful of every step and all the simple yet wondrous things that surround you.

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See Also: This Simple Walking Meditation is Guaranteed to Boost Your Mood.

Yoga Journal’s 2021 Live Be Yoga Experience presented by NOW includes video classes, exclusive content, and special offerings from the Live Be Yoga sponsors: Cetus, JointFlex, NOW Essential Oils and Supplements, Visit Sun Valley, and Zebra CBD. This year our intention is to SPARK JOY through movement, mindfulness, rest, gratitude, and kindness. Check out other content at 2021 Live Be Yoga Experience and stay connected with us @livebeyoga.