Mindful walking

We often take walking for granted. But did you know that there are ways of walking that can lift our spirits and relieve anxiety?

Activity Time: 5 min -15 min
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Activity steps
  1. Ask “What do you know about mindfulness? Lead a brief discussion in preparation for the Mindful walking activity
  2. Read aloud Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s description of the Plum Village tradition of walking meditation: Walking in meditation means to walk in such a way that we know we are walking. We walk leisurely, enjoying every step. We become aware of the contact of our feet with the ground, and the flow of our breathing. We set ourselves free from our thinking—our regrets about the past, our fears and anxieties about the future, or our preoccupations in the present. We become 100% present with every step. We become aware of the contact between our feet and the ground. And we begin harmonize our steps with our breathing. We may take two or three steps as we breathe in, and then three or four steps as we breathe out. It will depend on your lungs and the natural rhythm of your steps. As we continue walking, synchronising our breathing and our steps, we become aware of our whole-body walking. We can relax any tension in our shoulders or arms, and feel what a miracle it is to be walking on Earth. We can open our ears to the sounds around us, and lift up our eyes to enjoy the trees, or the horizon, or the people around us. Aware of our five senses, we know we have arrived in the present moment. Every step can be nourishing and every step can be healing. https://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice
  3. Clear a space. Move things to make space, or find an area outside that will allow you to comfortably move around in a circle.
  4. Start slow. Set a timer for 3 minutes and see how it feels. (It takes time to get used to walking slowly and purposely.)
  5. Take it easy. Walk with slow, measured steps and be aware of the in-and-out rhythm of your breath.
  6. Stay present. When we focus only on our walking and breathing, we take a break from our emotions.
  7. Keep going. It might feel silly or strange at first to walk so sloooooowly. But think of it as skill building. You’re learning how to separate from your feelings, enjoy the moment, and recharge!