Out and about in my yoga leggs…
Do you find it hard to stay still? We all know that feeling of pent-up energy, often manifesting as a racing mind, twitchy legs and rapid speech, and as much as we know meditation is good for the mind and body it can sometimes feel simply too challenging for the body to be still and the mind to calm. People often say they can’t meditate for this very reason, and there’s normally a feeling of somehow failing because of this.
However, did you know it’s physiologically more difficult to stay still or be mindful if our body has high levels of the stress hormone cortisol? It’s not that we “can’t do it”, it’s part of the body’s innate wisdom to protect us. If our sympathetic nervous system is activated, a cascade of stress hormones are released and we are left in a state of psychological and physiological arousal which leaves us feeling agitated and anxious.
In today’s fast-paced world where stress is often the norm, walking meditation can be used as a calming practice when we feel that finding stillness is too challenging. Moving the body helps us release energy and lower cortisol, engages the mind and activates the calming pathways of the nervous system. The more you walk and move the more efficient your breathing becomes helping your body regain its natural balance.
Benefits of walking meditation include:
- Walking mindfully focussing on the breath (maybe ujjayi breathing) keeps the mind occupied and can support mindfulness
- Walking provides a sensory distraction – feeling the ground beneath your feet, the breeze against the skin, noticing sights and smells around us
- Brisk walking is a great exercise in itself!
- Being outdoors connects us to nature and the environment around us with numerous studies demonstrating the therapeutic benefits of spending time in nature
- You don’t need any fancy equipment apart from your good self, and perhaps some comfy yoga leggs
- It’s free!
Walking is an activity that can make a real difference in our ability to cope with anxiety. Use a walking meditation app to move between meetings, walk to work or when walking the dog. It’s a great way to get where you’re going – whether that’s towards developing a daily meditation practice or simply going from A to B!