March

Mindful walking

Student Communications Ambassador Sophie shares her tips for changing up your daily stroll.

After spending so much time in lockdown, we’ve probably all walked around our local area many, many times. And while going for a stroll is definitely good reason to leave our homes for a bit, refresh our minds and exercise, it might be beneficial to find new ways to spice up our walks and squash that repetitive feeling! I’ve discovered mindful walking in the hope of upgrading my time outside.

What is mindful walking?

Mindful walking is an easy practice that you can do everywhere, on your way to the bus stop two minutes away, or during your longer walks. The goal is to enjoy the action of walking and actively engage with the things going on around and within us, instead of turning on the autopilot in our heads and letting our legs carry us around! It’s pretty similar to meditation in a way, that’s why it’s also called walking meditation. It’s a very good practice to find a new perspective on our environment and pay more attention to the little details of everyday life.

Simple things to practice

A good place to start is to focus on your senses:

  • Notice what’s happening around you; the sounds, the views, the busy people in the street or a flock of birds above.
  • Are there any smells in the air? Are they enjoyable or disturbing? Have you ever associated them with previous memories maybe?
  • What are your sensations like? Can you notice the wind brushing your skin and which parts of your body? Do you feel any muscles straining more than others? Is it easy to breathe or is this hill getting the better of you?

And just by paying attention to some of these things you may realise that the one tree you pass by everyday has a nest in its branches and you can hear the birds coming and going, or that the wind carries the smell of firewood just like when you were a kid! It’s all about reconnecting to your senses and what makes them noticeable in the present moment.

A different exercise is to pay attention to your movement and focus all your attention on your steps, breaking them down into a series of actions. I find this much harder to do but if you’re up for a challenge then it might turn your walk into a very different experience!
You can also pay attention to your breathing and try to synchronize it with your steps, for instance, inhale for threesteps and exhale for three more, then repeat.

Going further

If you’ve tried these few things and have found that your walks became a bit more enjoyable, then there are many ways you can keep up with this practice.

The Internet is your friend if you would like to try guided walking meditations; just type “mindful walking” or “walking meditation” in the search bar on Youtube or Spotify and you’ll have plenty of choice! Alternatively, if you already use meditation apps, they might have some walking meditations available to you.

Good luck!

Sophie
Student Communications Ambassador

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.

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