Expert Advice

Is walking a labyrinth good for your health?

Walking a labyrinth can help you achieve inner peace.

Is walking a labyrinth good for your health?
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Yes. Walking a labyrinth—a path that follows a single direction, as either spiraling concentric circles or another looping pattern—is a powerful form of moving meditation that can bring you peace and relief from stress.

You can't get lost. Labyrinths are not mazes; the walk to the center involves no tricks or guesses, and the way in is also the way out. They are often inside cathedrals or church halls, or outdoors at retreat centers or mind-body resorts, where the path might be defined by stones and lined by shrubs.

You may find answers. Various individuals, cultures, and traditions have long used spiral and labyrinth designs as symbols of mysticism and the search for meaning and guidance. As such, labyrinths are not connected to any particular religion. For many, it's simply a metaphor for the journey of life. For others, it can be a way to connect with a higher power.

Just walk it. The instructions are simple: Put one foot in front of the other, walk at your own pace, and proceed toward the center. When in the center, do what comes naturally, whether that's resting, praying, sitting, or taking deep breaths. Then walk back out the same path you entered. The walk can take 15 minutes or an hour, depending on your pace, mood, and the size of the labyrinth—and is more effective if you make it a regular practice. To find one near you, visit the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator at veriditas.labyrinthsociety.org.

Georgiana Lotfy, D.Min., licensed family therapist in Long Beach, Calif.