Mindfulness Made Easy – Practice #7 Walk Mindfully

Here is the seventh of my 50 Mindful Practices  from my upcoming book. Please sign up for my weekly emails if you want to get the rest automatically in your email box. I welcome your feedback and please pass along to your friends!

MINDFULNESS MADE EASY – 50 PRACTICES TO REDUCE STRESS AND CREATE CALM – FOR  HOME, SCHOOL AND WORK 

Practice 7: Walk Mindfully

“What we really seek is not the surface goals [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][like money and status] those are just means to an end. What we are really after is the feeling of relief that comes when the drive is satisfied. Relief, relaxation, and an end to the tension. Peace happiness – no more yearning.“ Bhante Gunaratana

What it is. Not long ago I attended a one-hour mindful practice with a group of lawyers. We were led through a practice of mindful walking but were limited because the room had a huge oblong table in the middle. As a result we eight lawyers found ourselves marching at a rigorous speed around the outside of the table! Needless to say this was not helpful for getting centered but it did remind me how quickly we revert back to old habits, particularly when we are following the pace of those in front of us.

Some beginners to meditation find sitting difficult so prefer to walk when trying to be mindful.  Although moving your body in mediation can help with focus, there is a danger of falling into a trance and walking too quickly, often on automatic pilot! Because we feel rush, we rarely even notice the speed at which we are walking. We rush to the bathroom, we run to the elevator; we scurry to catch the bus or a taxi. We rarely slow our pace down.

How to do it. Pick a quiet location in or out side where you can walk for at least ten paces without interruption. Stand still and center yourself. Take a few deep breathes. Sense the air and space around you and notice your hands and feet and body.  Stand up tall and align your body so you feel like a string is pulling you up through your head. Focus your eyes slightly downward and ahead of where you will be walking. Ever-so-slowly begin to walk, sensing first the lifting of the leg and the placing of the foot. Sense the shift of balance and feel the ground. Relax your body and mind. Notice how you shift your weight from one foot to the other to test your balance. As you step notice how your foot strikes the ground, heel to toe. Notice how your arms and torso move. Walk as slowly as possible without losing balance.Be aware of the ground under your feet and the sounds of your steps.

What to notice. At first you may feel stiff, awkward and off balance. Slowly you will get into a gentle rhythm or pace and will eventually synchronize your steps with your breathing. As you walk your thoughts and emotions will arise. As they do, try again to focus on your body moving and your steps. In doing so your thoughts may begin to float away with each step. Slowly. The point of walking mediation is not only to to become more aware of your walking but also to use your walking as a focus to keep distractions at bay. As well, the natural movement of each step will cultivate your overall mindfulness. You will become more aware, alert, centered and calm.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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