It’s Mindfulness Monday again! My kids have been on March Break for the past two weeks and it has been a hectic and whirlwind two weeks. I felt a little relieved sending them back to school today. Throughout this time, I have allowed my Mindfulness practice go down the drain. The importance here is not to feel bad about it, but to simply get back on track.
As the temperature warms up here in Toronto this week (double digits later this week! Yay!), it’s the perfect time to go back outside for a walk. I used to jog and speed walk for weight loss but a walking meditation is very different. When you incorporate mindfulness into a walk, you are essentially meditating on the move. You can choose to focus on your breath with each step, or count your steps. Walk in a space you feel safe, whether it is your backyard, your neighbourhood or even the lobby of your office building.
Start by walking at a comfortable pace to you. It could be slow or brisk depending on your preference. You can focus your attention on your in and out breath with each step (or two steps), or you can count. Many practices recommend counting to ten then repeating. The goal is to bring your awareness to your body as you walk: the feeling of the ground under your feet and the swing of your arms. Perhaps the wind in your hair or the sights and sounds in the environment. If your mind wanders to thoughts and distractions, bring it back to the present, to the act of walking and to the environment around you. If this is difficult to maintain, then go back to your breath or to counting.
When you take a meditative walk and become mindful of everything around you, you will experience things in your environment that you never noticed before, even if it is a path you are familiar with and have walked a thousand times.
Be conscious of when you want to end your walking meditation and have gratitude for your practice. Bring this awareness to the activities in the rest of your day.
Will you be going on a meditative walk this week to enjoy the warmer weather?