WHEN YOU WALK ANYWHERE THROUGHOUT THE DAY, ARE YOU TRULY FOCUSING ON THE MOVEMENT OF WALKING?
Is your mind solely focused on the present moment?
Focused on how the body feels as you walk?
Focused on what is around you?
The likely answer is no!
Walking is second nature. It requires little concentration.
We walk in an almost autonomous state – in an ‘auto-pilot’ mode. Most likely in a ‘world of our own’. Our legs are moving towards our destination, but our minds are elsewhere, focusing on other things such as the day ahead or being distracted by our mobile phones.
Whatever the distraction is, it is stopping you from experiencing life as it happens – you aren’t fully mindful of the present moment.
BUT DON’T WORRY. THIS IS COMPLETELY NORMAL.
Instead, learn how to turn an everyday walk into a mindful walk in which your senses are fully alive and experiencing the present moment in all its beauty!
Imagine walking and truly experiencing the feeling of your body moving. Re-connect with the present moment. Re-connect with the raw pleasure of experiencing life in the here and now.
Mindful walking is a nice and easy way to integrate mindfulness into your everyday life.
Tip: Now we don’t want to go all health and safety on you, but if you are walking in a built-up area, please do stay aware of what is going on around you including cars, road signs and people during the mindful walking practice.
HERE’S WHAT TO DO:
1. Begin the exercise by standing still.
Take a moment to become aware of how your body feels and its connection with the ground. Feel the weight of your body as it pushes down through your feet and into the ground. Acknowledge the sensation of your heels pressing into your shoes and the floor beneath you. Notice the smalls movements that enable your body to subconsciously keep itself balanced whilst you are stood still.
Breathe in deeply until you feel your stomach expand, then breathe out slowly. Focus your attention on the natural rhythm of breathing.
3. As you begin to walk, focus your awareness on how the body feels.
Is there any tension or stiffness? Consider readjusting your posture if needed.
4. Just for a few steps…
Slow down and notice how your feet slowly progress from heel-to-toe, feel the weight of your body transfer in one smooth motion. Notice how your arms feel as they swing in tandem as you walk.
5. Continue walking normally…
Walk at your natural pace, in your natural manner. Simply observe how it feels. To observe is to experience without trying to change anything. Simply observe your feet as they touch the ground. Observe the sensation of movement within the body. Notice how the weight of your body transfers from the left to the right foot continuously.
6. If your attention wanders off…
If you start thinking about other things, simply acknowledge the thoughts or emotions without judgement. Then gently guide your attention back to the rhythm of walking, back to the sensation of breathing, back to the present moment.
7. What can you see?
Start to progress your focus onto what you seeing going on around you… Do you see passersby? Shops? Cars? Buildings? Notice the shapes of the objections you can see and the colours. Pay attention to how the objects change as you walk past them….
8. What can you hear?
Simply become aware of the changing sounds around you as you continue walking…
9. What can you smell?
Again, simply observe the smells whether they are nice or ‘smelly’. Do the smells remind you of something? Simply become aware of your thoughts.
10. As you are walking…
You may notice that your mind begins to wander off thinking about different things… Remember, simply acknowledge the thoughts or emotions without judgement. Use the thoughts or feelings as your trigger to remind you to refocus your attention back to the rhythm of walking and the sights, sounds and smells that are around you.
The idea is to acknowledge, not block, any thoughts or feelings that arise.
With a heightened sense of awareness, you might notice you’re more in touch with your feelings too.
For example, if you are waiting to cross the road, notice how that feels. Are you impatient? Use this as an opportunity to choose a mindful response to any feelings that arise.
Enjoy your mindful walk and let us know how you get on by tweeting us @PursuitOfMind.