This series is really exciting for me because I am exploring and enjoying these techniques in new ways that make me feel inspired.
Walking has been an inner practice for me for many years and it keeps feeling more profound and more enlightening. There are a couple things I want to share with you about walking and why it is so powerful and also some specific techniques that I know work very well.
Walking is very natural thing to do and it has benefits on a number of levels. Walking is good for your health; it is the great exercise; it naturally regulates emotions; it has the ability to quiet your mind; and it can easily bring you into a deep connection with your spirit while expanding your consciousness.
When you walk it seems natural to slow down into a more relaxing and appreciating pace of life. The practices of mindful walking or walking meditation incorporate the slowing down, the relaxation and the appreciation for the moment.
The simple practice that I use most often is walking at a relaxed pace with my emphasis on a long slow exhale and a deep inhale. This breathing pattern works in a number of settings but especially when walking. I find it helpful to have soft eyes, which take in the beauty around me in a relaxed and receptive way. Sometime I find it helpful to bring my hands together in a way that brings creates a kind of energetic circle (thumbs and first two fingers encircling each other). I encourage you to experiment and see what works best for you.
Another focus is on my feet and their contact with the ground. Thich Nhat Hahn emphasizes being aware of each foot as it touches down and lifts up. I have walked on the beach in Santa Barbara with this great teacher and I love this technique. My slight alteration of this method comes from another wonderful spiritual teacher I had: I put all my focus on one foot and it seems to work better for me. I imagine my left foot can take me on the journey to awakening and it has in many places.
One last note of importance: this type of walking is not about getting somewhere, it is about being fully present in your mind, your heart and your spirit and then magic can happen. There is also something very special about this practice when I want to seed my creativity. I go out on a walk and I open to inspiration and it seems to always find me.
May your walks bring light to your life.