When my grandparents first discovered they had diabetes, the doctor recommended an hour’s worth of walking every morning to keep fit. Following that regimen, they soon began to go to the park in the morning as well as in the evening. They discovered that walking was not only a form of fitness slowly nursing them back to health, but also a great meditative technique helping them to increase awareness of their surroundings. During these walks in the park, they were able to listen to the birds chirp, watch the tree leaves sway with the wind, and feel the movement of their feet against the ground. Fifteen years later, not only were their sugar levels under control, but their minds and bodies were also in synchronization.
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to take a 30-minute meditative. A walking meditation is a simple process that allows you to be more present in your body as well as in the moment. The human body naturally loves movement, so giving it the satisfaction of a focused walk is rewarding. Oftentimes, we become caught up in our mental world, thinking about our future, planning for it, or focusing on the many tasks we have to do. By giving our body the attention it needs by walking, we feel more alive and less stressed.
In order for a meditative walk to work, it must be done for the sole purpose of a meditative walk. Try not to combine it with anything else, such as running an errand. Let the walk be for meditation only. Before beginning your walk, spend some time standing still, at least two minutes or so. Pay attention to your breathing. Next, slowly focus on how your body feels. Are you leaning more on your left foot? How are you positioned? Is there an uncomfortable muscle? Become aware of all the sensations going on in your body and then begin to walk. Walk at a relaxed, comfortable pace and try not to go too fast. It is natural for your mind to wander during your walk, but keep bringing your attention back to what is happening internally. Notice how your body feels during the walk and try to pick up on details. Here is a list to consider as you become more aware of your body:
1. The rhythm of your feet
2. The alternation from the left to the right.
3. The swinging of your arms and hips.
4. The rolling movement of your feet.
5. The entirety of your body: knees, calves, thighs, hips, back, arms, neck, etc.
As soon as you notice any type of tension in the body anywhere, let it go. Allow that part of your body to relax. The whole point of this exercise is to become aware of your internal thought process and to calm your mind from running wild. By practicing this simple meditative walk, you can find peace in every step.
For a more detailed outline of meditative walking, visit Live and Dare.