Try a Walk
"I have been "engulfing" your book this morning, and I want to let you know I am delighted and amazed at how it resonates with my philosophy and experiences. Thank you for this wonderful gift to those of us who share your spiritual approach to walking!"
— Cleveland, OH
Step into a Spirited Walk
From the Spirited Walker
When body and mind move together, in the rhythm of any physical activity, we often experience a sense of wholeness that isn't common in everyday life. In that wholeness, many people feel an overall sense of healthy well-being that restores energy.
To find that wholeness, it helps to clear away the distraction of mind chatter and to-do lists. Some people clear the chatter with prayer, sitting meditation, chanting, or dance. For me, active, walking meditation has been an effective way to restore wholeness of body, mind and spirit.
Like any form of meditation, walking meditation is a practice. You will find your ability to quiet mental chatter improves with regular repetition.
1. Walk alone, or with a friend who is willing to walk in silence for at least 10 minutes. Walk at a pace that is comfortable for your fitness level.
2. As you walk, mentally say to yourself "in" and "out" as you inhale and exhale. Take full, deep breaths so that you expand the lungs. Air is the spirit of life. Breathe fully and you refuel cells with life-giving oxygen.
3. When you discover that you are thinking about the new shoes you want or a conversation you had at work, simply tell yourself, “not now.” Gently. Then return to repeating In and Out with your breath.
4. Expand your focus after two or three minutes, so that you create a cadence of breath and steps. Count mentally, In-2-3-4, Out-2-3-4. Match breath and steps with the mental count. Four steps for each inhale; four steps for each exhale. When you discover that you are thinking about those shoes again, simply repeat, "not now," gently, and then return to the count.
5. If you find it difficult to keep your focus on the count, try substituting a four-count phrase. "I am walking; I am happy." One step per syllable. Breathe in four counts and out four counts.
6. How do you feel at the end of 15 minutes? At first, you may feel impatient. This is a new tool you are learning. With practice, the harmony of body, mind, and spirit comes more quickly, bringing with it a sense of peace, renewed energy, and often greater clarity.
Ready for more Spirited Walking concepts? Each chapter of The Spirited Walker introduces exercises that bring mindfulness to your steps through breath awareness, self-talk, visual imagery, and more. Buy The Spirited Walker.