Take a moment. Inhale. Exhale. Pause. Just as you may begin a yoga practice, you too can incorporate a similar mindset to begin a walking meditation. Mindful walking, a practice I recently experienced in a yoga teacher training session, was exactly the practice my body, mind, and spirit needed! I was desperate to shake the heaviness I was feeling after days of Zoom classes. Don't get me wrong...I absolutely loved every second of my training, that without Zoom would not have been possible. It was intense...12 days to be exact, and I was determined to not leave any looming projects.
So, I began my walk with the ever so lovely and encouraging words from my teacher, Dr. Meghan Nelson via facebook live. I don't completely remember every word she carefully shared with us, but similar to my practice of yoga, I arrived and followed Meghan's lead in "noticing." The great thing about walking...it's a practice I've been doing for quite some time. But the noticing and observing, well it's like many things we do...it can become mindless rather than mindful. So, observe and notice I did.
Beginning with my outer senses, I watched the clouds, the passing houses of my neighborhood, that led me to a hill, and a vast stretch of pine tree lined gravel roads. With each step we were guided inward through the layers of our being. Noticing the impact of each foot step. Noticing the breath. Noticing the reaction of the body. Noticing the mind. Noticing with less and less judgement. When the mind would wander...I noticed, and with less and less judgement I came back to the breath and the simple, yet powerful practice of observing and noticing.
So SDYC friends...how about some mindful walking?
Choose a space. It could be outdoors, a hallway, a large room...pretty much any space in which you can walk.
Take a few cleansing breaths.
Set an intention.
Notice. Be an observer.
Observe your surroundings...taking note of the details through the eyes, nose, and other senses.
Observe your body. Each step. The rise and land of your foot. Notice the knees, hips, back, shoulder, the sway of your arms. Notice the activity in your mind.
Observe your breath.
Continue to notice with empathetic awareness.
Let go, and walk.
Mix it up...
Count your steps.
Add a mantra.
Add a mudra.
Come back to the breath.
Observe, notice...consider....the impact on your mind, body, and/or spirit.
Consider how you might take this awareness off the mat.
There are many great things to spice up or simplify your mindful walking practice...but, please don't stop there. What about mindful movement of any sort? Mindful hiking, running, rolling, biking, skipping, typing, writing, dishwashing, mowing (another favorite of mine), eating....you get the idea.
Turn off the auto pilot, and check in with yourself. Friends, readers...take time.
Time to observe.
Time to notice.
Time to BE aware.
We'd love to hear from you! Check-in and share a mindfulness practice, link, quote, or other inspiration to share with our community. We are in this together! Together we will rise up in peace and love.
On and off the mat Cheri enjoys spending time in nature with her husband Mike, daughters Phoebe and Emma, and fur babies, Oreo and Charlie. She holds a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, degrees in Kinesiology and Recreation, and is a RYT 200 & RYCT-95 with Yoga Alliance.