April Blog Mindful Walking
It has been a few months since my previous blog. The year seems to be going very quickly and our Easter break has come at a very opportune time.
Wile continuing the theme of mindfulness I thought I would write about the value of mindful walking. The mindfulness of walking is an important component of Mindful Training. With mindfulness you practice formally and informally. The formal practice supports the informal practice and vice versa. As we bring our practice to the walk we continue the practice where ever we are.
Walking has been proven scientifically to be very beneficial for health and well being. I regulary walk and have that walking as been one of my most important tools of combating low mood and stress. I am aware that when we are faced with changes in our routines this can result in anxiety, low mood and, depression.
When my mother was dying of alzeimers we would walk slowly together and she would often berate me for walking too quickly for her so I would have to deliberatlely slow my walking down to match her speed. Now I am faced with a similar challenge as I take my aging labroador for a walk. Sadly she cannot walk as quickly as she used to but none the less she wants to go for a walk. So I am beng forced to walk mindfully each morning with her and for her. Slowly and deliberatlely and mindfully we now walk around the block. Initially it was very frustrating but now I have come into a bit of a rhythm with her and I am reminded of the mindful walk we all need to take when we care for our elderly. And perhaps the mindful walk we will all take as we prepare for the end of our life.
The first step to walk mindfully is to be aware of the soles of the feet on the ground and practise what is called a standing yoga or mindful standing. Being aware of your breath, your body and your feet on the ground. You then slowly take steps being aware of the first movement forward followed by the next. Aware of the breathe and the movement of the spine.
After a while you become very present and aware. Your thoughts seem to slow down and you become more aware of sounds and smells. The morning walk with Jazz is certainly not an aerobic exercise at present but it is an opportunity to stay focused, connected and be compassionate.
My dog Jazz has also shown me that we all age and slow down but we do not need to stop. As we age we can stay connected to the community and the environment and the practise of walking mindfully can be one way of staying active, present and aware.