“…step by step, moment by moment, walking gently on the earth, in step with your life, being exactly where you are.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
The pace of our lives is often too fast, and our time is filled with running from one obligation to the next. Practicing Walking and Stopping Meditation provides us with a wonderful opportunity to stop, wake up, and calm down.
To begin, find a walking space, preferably outdoors, where you can easily walk back and forth in a lane. Decide on the length of your walking lane, and when you are ready, with your feet firmly planted, rest for a moment.
Then, bring your awareness to your feet and their connection to the earth and slowly shift your weight to one hip. When you are ready, lift the foot on the opposite side, swing and then step down with that foot, reconnecting to the ground. At your own pace, continue with the other side, shifting, lifting, swinging, stepping, and reconnecting with the earth. Moving forward, allow your gaze to focus gently ahead, not looking around or down at your feet.
In each moment of each movement, notice, as you are able, any sensations in the hip joint, the thigh, the knee, the ankle, the heel, the toes. And when you become aware of your mind naturally wandering, simply notice that it has wandered, and return your attention to the sensations of walking. Reaching the end of your lane, pause for a moment while bringing your awareness to your beating heart and the experience of stillness after being in motion.
Then slowly, as you are able, expand your field of awareness to include all that is available to you to be seen, to be heard, to be smelled, and to be felt, breathing it in and out once, twice, or three times. While holding this awareness, when you are ready, include again awareness of your feet touching the earth. And then slowly turn in place, like a panning camera, gently shifting the hips and lifting each foot. In each moment of each slight turn, and in the moments in between, allowing yourself to soak in what is there to be seen, to be heard, to be smelled, to be felt, perhaps pausing for several breaths with each turn.
When you have turned your body around 180 degrees, and you are again facing your lane, narrow your field of awareness again back to your feet and the sensations of connecting to the earth. And then, breathing, resting in your body, exactly as you are, begin walking again.
Nutrition therapists Amy Tuttle, RD, LCSW and Karin Kratina, RD, PhD provide no-diet articles and resources including “Stay Attuned: The E-zine for Nourishing Connections” at their Nourishing Connections website. www.nourishingconnections.com