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Mindful Walking Guidelines 1. Find a place where you can walk up and down without feeling con- cerned about whether people can see you. It can be inside or outside.


Stand at one end of your walk, with your feet parallel to each other, about four to six inches apart, and your knees ‘unlocked’ so that they can gently flex. Allow your arms to hang loosely by your sides. Softly direct your gaze straight ahead.

3. Bring the focus of your awareness to the bottoms of your feet. Get a

direct sense of the physical sensations of the contact of your feet with the ground and the weight of your body transmitted through your legs and feet to the ground. You might find it helpful to flex your knees slightly a few times to get a clearer sense of the sensations in your feet and legs.

4. When you are ready, transfer the weight of your body into the right leg. Notice the changing pattern of physical sensations in your legs and feet as the left leg ‘empties’ and the right leg takes over the support of the rest of the body.

5. With your left leg ‘empty’, allow your left heel to rise slowly from the

floor, noticing the sensations in the calf muscles as you do so. Continue, allowing the whole of your left foot to lift gently until only the toes are in contact with the floor. Paying attention to the sensations in the feet and legs, slowly lift your left foot. Carefully move it forward, feeling your foot and leg as they move through the air. Place your heel on the floor. Allow the rest of the bottom of your left foot to make contact with the floor as you transfer the weight of your body into the left leg and foot. Notice the increasing physical sensations in your left leg and foot and the ‘emptying’ of your right leg and your right heel leaving the floor.


With the weight fully transferred to your left leg, allow the rest of your right foot to lift. Move it slowly forward. Notice the changing patterns of physical sensations in your foot and leg as you move your foot. Focus your attention on the right heel as it makes contact with the ground. Trans-

fer your weight into the right foot placing it gently on the ground. Notice the shifting pattern of physical sensations in both legs and feet.

7. Repeat this process, moving slowly from one end of your walk to

the other. Pay particular attention to the sensations in the bottoms of your feet and heels as they make contact with the floor and the sensa- tions in your leg muscles as they swing forward.

8. At the end of your walk, slowly turn around. Notice and appreciate

the complex pattern of movements by which your body changes direc- tion. Continue walking.

9. Walk up and down in this way, noticing, as best you can, the physi- cal sensations in your feet and legs, as well as your feet contacting the floor. Keep your gaze soft and directed ahead.

10. When you notice that your mind has wandered away from the sen- sations of walking, gently escort your attention back to the sensations in your feet and legs. Particularly use the sensations as your feet con- tact the floor as an ‘anchor’ to reconnect with the present moment, just as you use the breath in sitting meditation.

11. Continue to walk for 10 or 15 minutes, or longer if you wish.

12. To begin with, walk at a pace that is slower than usual, to give yourself a better chance to be fully aware of the walking sensations. Once you feel comfortable walking slowly with awareness, experiment with walking at faster speeds, up to and beyond normal walking speed. If you are feeling agitated, it might be helpful to begin walking fast, with awareness, and to gradually slow down as you settle.

13. As often as you can, bring the same kind of awareness that you cultivate in walking meditation to your normal, everyday, experiences of waling.

Adapted from: Setal, Z. V., Williams, M. G., Teasdale, J. D., Mindfulness-Based Cog- nitive Therapy for Depression, 2002.


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