Tag Archives: walking meditation

Walking meditation at Paris airport

walking meditation airport mindfulness

I have always being scared of practising walking meditation in public spaces. I think people will stare at me. I am afraid of looking like some sort of walking ghost.

I decided I wanted to do something about it, so with the prospect of my trip to New York for New Year’s Eve, I told myself I would do a walking meditation at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, while changing planes and terminals, arriving from Valencia on my way to New York.

Going through a big airport, from one terminal to another, waiting in long lines, going through immigration, through security, is not the most relaxing thing in the world, and it can be a rather stressful situation, especially if connecting times are tight.

Although I had plenty of time between flights, I tried to live my experience in a completely different way, being mindful, being aware of each step.

Going out of the plane, walking along the airbridge towards the terminal…

Being aware of my breath while I walk, the air coming in and going out, and at the same time being aware of my hips, my legs, my feet…

Concentrating on my foot lifting as the other touches the floor. Feeling that contact. The skin against the sock, the sock against the shoe, the shoe against the floor. Only this exists at this particular moment. Savouring it.

Being aware when my mind wanders, wanting to complain about how heavy my bags are, on how long the immigration lines are, or if someone tries to bypass the queue…

Going back to my breathing and to the movement of my legs, and my feet. Finding refuge and peace at these anchors.
Trying to bring this awareness to my posture, to my body when I am standing in a line, or observing the planes on the runway.

And doing this with gentleness, without any judgement.

Finally getting into the big bird, finding my seat, taking my place… realising that I feel different to other trips, I feel at peace, I feel well.

Mission accomplished! I say to myself. You’ve managed to do it and it has been great…!

About walking meditation

walking meditation

‘In traditional monastic settings, periods of sitting meditation are interspersed with periods of walking meditation. They are the same practice. The walking is just as good as the sitting. What is important is how you keep your mind. In formal walking meditation you attend to the walking itself.’

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. (1994)

‘We have to awaken ourselves to the truth that we are here, alive. We are here making steps on this beautiful planet. This is already performing a miracle. But we have to be here in order for the miracle to be possible. We have to bring ourselves back to the here and the now. Therefore, each step we take becomes a miracle. If you are able to walk like that, each step will be very nourishing and healing. You walk as if you kiss the earth with your feet, as if you massage the earth with your feet. There is a lot of love in that practice of walking meditation.’

Thich Nhat Hanh
Your true home. The everyday wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh. (2011)

‘Peace is every step’

Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace is every step: The path of mindfulness in everyday life. (1991)

Walking meditation

walking meditation mindfulness

Walking is something we all do every day. But in most cases, we do it automatically, without thinking on the added value it can bring us.

Jon Kabat-Zin wanted to give a new meaning to walking, so he introduced the walking meditation within the formal practices that form the MBSR – Mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Practicing walking meditation is as simple as walking, but while you do it, you can add to the meditation other stimuli, p.e., what you see, what you feel, the smells, the feel of your feet when they get in touch with the ground… what you should avoid is not to try getting caught for other thoughts that alienate us from cultivating our inner observation.

It may be difficult at the beginning: for many years we have used our legs mechanically likely you could even feel awkward during the activity. You can set your eyes straight ahead or you can look down and see how the foot up from the floor and back down, and feel the rhythm of your steps.

Any time is good for practicing walking meditation: in small displacements, at home, in a park, in the way to or back from work … there’s always a good chance to make that path a chance to meditate. Walking as a practice itself, try not to treat it as a further goal, as we usually do during our busy daily life.

Take your time. Do not run. Only wander without looking for a goal, not a destination, without the intention of reaching a particular location. If, for example, you put it into practice during a journey that you are used to do it in 5 minutes, allow yourself to do it in double time and practice walking meditation for 10 minutes.

Before starting practice, think about breathing slowly during those two or three initial steps to accustom your body and mind to this new way of walking. The soles should focus your attention: be aware of the contact between them and the ground you walk on.

You have to control your breathing. Make it mild and slow. It will help you to reduce the effects of stress and facilitate meditation. Make deep but slow breaths inhaling air through the nose and exhaling through your mouth.

And, most important advice: do it lively. Don’t think about a minimum or maximum time for practicing this meditation. And at the end, take a moment for reflect on what you have done, how through the practice, you have found serenity, peace, inner joy.