Walking without a purpose

Usually when we walk it is with a sense of purpose. We may be walking a dog, taking the kids to school or into Epping to get lunch from M&S or Subway!

Tasks like this mean going from A to B on autopilot.  Whatever the reason we rarely walk just for the sake of walking.

May, as well as being Mindful May here at the CCG, is National Walking month and next week is also Mental Health Awareness week.

Combining the two leads us to something known as ‘walking practice’ (or meditation)

What is walking practice?

It is a way of moving out of the mind and into the body. Walking practice can be a formal practice, like watching the breath. Or it can be informal, bringing awareness to this everyday activity, whenever you need to travel from point A to point B.

Walking practice gives us an opportunity to gather our awareness which so often becomes distracted or even stuck when the mind is left to its own devices.

Whether moving between floors of a building, on a city street, or in the woods, it is an opportunity to guide ourselves out of the distracted autopilot we live in throughout so much of our day.

What are the benefits of this type of walking?

It is good if you are feeling anxious or restless, and finding it hard to remain in a seated position.  Also, if you are feeling sleepy, you are more likely to remain awake walking rather than sitting.

A short 10 minute walking practice (with thanks to www.mindful.org)


  • Walk at a natural pace. Place your hands wherever comfortable: on your belly, behind your back, or at your sides.
  • If you find it useful, you can count steps up to 10, and then start back at one again. If you’re in a small space, as you reach 10, pause, and with intention, choose a moment to turn around.
  • With each step, pay attention to the lifting and falling of your foot. Notice movement in your legs and the rest of your body. Notice any shifting of your body from side to side.
  • Whatever else captures your attention, come back to the sensation of walking. Your mind will wander, so without frustration, guide it back again as many times as you need.
  • Particularly outdoors, maintain a larger sense of the environment around you, taking it all in, staying safe and aware.

Now for a few minutes, expand your attention to sounds. Whether you’re indoors, in the woods, or in a city, pay attention to sounds without labeling or naming, or getting caught up in whether you find them pleasant or unpleasant. Notice sounds as nothing more or less than sound.

Shift your awareness to your sense of smell. Again, simply notice. Don’t push or force yourself to feel anything at all, just bring attention to the sense of smell, whatever you discover.

Now, move to vision: colours and objects and whatever else you see. Patiently coming back each time something grabs your attention, or even if something needs addressing, like avoiding an obstacle.

Keep this open awareness of everything around you, wherever you are. Nothing to do, nothing to fix, nothing to change. Fully aware, and walking.

In the last moments, come back to awareness of the physical sensations of walking, wherever else your mind found itself throughout the practice. Notice your feet again touching the ground. Notice again the movements in your body with each step.

Look out for details on AskHUE of more activities in May coming soon!

What are you doing to be more mindful this May? Have you tried the 10 minute walking practice? Let the Communications team know.

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