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Put Some Pep in Your Step With a Walking Meditation

self-care Dec 04, 2023
Close up of woman's sneakers. Walking on a footpath surrounded by grass by statu-nascendi by Getty Images Pro from

I’ve been talking with people who feel disconnected from their bodies. Those of us watching the footage from Gaza, the Congo, Sudan, and other places where genocide is taking place must take care of our mental health. Witnessing is important. Giving your mind a break so you can sustain your activism is essential.

Those of us deeply involved with politics – voting rights, women’s autonomy, disability justice, education, bail reform, book bans, Black Lives Matter, and more – also need to balance activism, rest, and other forms of self-care.

My go to when I’m feeling out of sorts is to get grounded. There are so many ways to get back in your body – belly breathing, mindful drawing, meditation, journaling, working out, dancing. With the days getting shorter, I’m personally feeling more tired and less like working out or even taking long walks. But the weather is still mild enough to be outside without being bundled up. (That might be my hormones or just my hot nature.)

Sometimes a walking meditation is just enough movement to bring awareness and settle into my body. If you’re looking for a simple way to ground with a little bit of movement, I invite you to try it.


Benefits of Walking Meditation

  • Increased focus
  • Breaking up a seated meditation routine
  • Processing emotions through movement
  • Walking is good for your health in general
  • Fresh air if you can get outdoors


Walking Meditation

Where to walk? You may want start indoors or find a secluded area so you have fewer distractions and can turn inwards. When it’s warm enough, I love to walk barefoot in the grass. My neighbors are used to seeing me doing “weird” stuff in the yard and around the neighborhood, and I’m used to blocking them out. Dance like nobody’s watching, right?

For how long? Try for 15 minutes. That can seem like forever when you’re sitting still, but it can go much faster when you’re moving. Set the alarm on your watch or phone so you don’t have to keep checking the time.

Getting started. Anchor yourself by standing still, weight balanced between your feet and breathing deeply with your diaphragm. Do a body scan and notice any sensations. Pay attention to how your body feels.

Walk. Slowly. Concentrating on each step. It’s not about a destination. It’s about intentional movement. Notice how your feet hit the ground and how your weight shifts from one foot and leg to the other. Looking at the ground can help you stay focused on your movement instead of what’s around you.

Distance. You don’t need to walk far. You can walk back and forth in a straight line over a few yards, or you can walk in a circle. Choose a path that you don’t need to concentrate on so you can achieve a meditative state instead of continuously noticing your walking path.

Re-focusing. Your mind will wander just like in a seated meditation. When it does, bring your attention back to your breathing and walking.

Pause if you need to. You can pause and stand still if necessary to anchor, and then continue walking again.

Just like there are many styles of meditation, there are many ways to do a walking meditation. Experiment and find what works for you. Looking for other ways to practice self-care? Join the Everyday Activism Habit, where we focus on self-care the first week of each month, exploring new techniques and building our self-care toolkits. Not ready to join? Sign up for the weekly newsletter for insights, facts, and fun beyond the blog.

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