It is only recently that women are being vocal about their mental health issues which is still largely regarded as a taboo by society.
Women are still shamed as being ‘hysterical’ because they are unable to control their own bodily fluids. Women are not only a subject of subjugation in the outside world but even in the domestic world that inflict violence on her.
It is important for us as a community to stand together and here at Voice Of Woman we bring such stories that matter. This article is an initiative towards acquainting all the females out there about the various boons of walking meditation and how it can contribute towards making our lives better as we battle against mental health problems.
Meditation is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. Meditation holds the key for our overall well-being . Mindful meditation does not necessarily need a specific set-up, it can be done at the desk, before going to bed and even while walking.
Walking meditation is an ideal complement to our seated meditation practice. Walking meditation is basically meditation in motion. It is a simple and universal practice for developing calm, connectedness and embodied awareness.
What is Walking Meditation?
Meditation while walking is designed to bring body and mind in sync. It is a way to get the mind to walk with us and to bring a relaxed focus to this everyday pursuit. It is astounding how dissimilar we feel when we pay attention to what is going around us rather than what is bothering us in our head. Walking meditation is more than just sauntering around. It is training in being as mindful as possible. Mindful walking meditation is all about being conscious of our body and physical sensations as we move, to use the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness and wakeful presence.
What is its Origin?
Walking meditation, also known as Kinhin is a practice owing its origin to Buddhism. It necessitates movements and periods of walking between long stretches of sedentary meditation. In different forms, the practice is common in Zen, Chan Buddhism, Korean Seon and Vietnamese Thien.
Why is Walking Meditation Important?
Mindful walking meditation helps us by enhancing awareness of mental and physical states. Meditation while walking can help us obtain a substantial sense of control over our thoughts, emotions and actions, thereby, enabling us to respond in more constructive ways when we confront negative thoughts or emotions.
Not only spiritual and mental benefits, the benefits of walking meditation are far more extensive and it is also proven to have clinical benefits such as boosting blood flow, reducing anxiety, alleviating depression, improving digestion, improving sleep quality etc. Walking and meditation is a combination of two exceedingly positive practices that brings about constructive development of our body and mind.
What are the Benefits of Walking Meditation?
There are considerable benefits of meditation while walking. It not only ensures physical and mental well-being but is also proven to have caused clinical benefits. Some of them are listed below:
1. Improves Blood Circulation
In the modern world scenario, most of us are confined to our office desk for a preponderant chunk of the day. There is usually not much scope of walking. This practice assists in getting the blood to flow, especially to the legs. It helps us to alleviate feelings of slothfulness or stagnancy.
2. Improves Digestion
A post meal mindful walking meditation can abet the process of digestion. It speeds up the rate at which food moves through our gastro-intestinal tract. It may also prevent constipation.
3. Physical Empowerment
Walking and meditation eventually, in the due course of time, provides us the strength to make relatively longer journeys on foot. One may think of this benefit simply as physical empowerment. It can be classified as useful walking benefits.
4. Reduces Anxiety
Just as chronic anxiety and stress release excess hormones that wreak havoc on our physical and mental well-being , walking meditation releases good endorphins that serve as natural pain-killers. A study on young women showed that walking is more effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety when combined with meditation.
5. Improves Concentration
Short energy bursts during walking meditation lasting from 10 to 40 minutes have been shown to provide an immediate boost in mental focus and concentration. The boost is largely due to improve in blood circulation and blood flow to the brain.
6. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
A small study in the year 2016 concluded that mindful walking meditation practice had a positive effect on blood sugar levels in women with type 2 diabetes. Walking meditation makes our heart beat a little faster and breathe a little harder. During the process, our muscles use more glucose present in our blood stream. Overtime, this can lower our blood sugar level. It also makes insulin in our body work better.
7. Attenuates Depression
Women are more prone to depression as compared to men . A study in the year 2014 showed that older women had fewer symptoms of depression after practicing Buddhist ways of walking and meditation 3 times a week for 12 weeks. Walking meditation is a form of aerobic exercise which can combat depression effectively.
8. Moderates Sleep Quality
Walking provides us with pliability and reduces muscle tension to make us feel better physically. In addition to this, walking meditation reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. All of these contribute towards a calm, clear mind and helps us to doze- off and sleep soundly every night.
9. Inspires Creativity
Walking while meditating can bring us more clarity and focus to our thought pattern, which in turn can stimulate creativity. A research from the year 2015 relates between mindfulness and creativity. It enhances our problem solving skills and the ability to cultivate new ideas.
10. Oneness with Nature
Walking meditation amidst nature like a garden, park etc. enriches our collective feelings of well-being, it helps us to spend some time with nature and admire the beauty in simplicity. The serene and tranquil experience is rejuvenating .
11. Makes Exercise Enjoyable
Incorporating a mindful aspect in our fitness regime makes our exercise experience more enjoyable. We can redirect our attention to our physical sensations in an easy way. A lot has been spoken about general walking benefits, but walking meditation is a whole new horizon that is yet to be explored.
For many women, slow, formal walking meditation is an acquired taste. But the more you practice, even for short periods of time, the more it is likely to grow on you.
We can also try to integrate an identical degree of awareness to any everyday activity, experiencing the sense of presence that is available to us at every moment as our lives unfold. No matter what just remember we are not just a woman but a force of nature.