Mindful Walking – Maintaining physical and mental health during lockdown

With the sun set to shine, spring and summer birds arriving and the trees and flowers bursting into bloom all around, I have been changing my NORDIC WALKING experience to Mindful Walking, you can do this with or without Nordic Walking poles. It is such a powerful practice… simply walk for the act of walking, feeling that we are walking; no rushing, or having a “wandering mind”, we walk with open awareness of what’s around us, with mindfulness.

Tips for Mindful Walking – Change your experience

Focusing your attention whilst walking will alter an unconscious means of getting from one place to another into a vibrant and fascinating event that brings energy to the body and calmness to your mind.

Five Tips for Mindful Walking

  1. Before you start walking… take a minute to check your posture and make some adjustments if necessary. Give your whole body a gentle shake out before you start:  your feet, legs, toes, arms, fingers, hips, shoulders, neck, jaw, finally your eyes, finishing with a few shoulder rolls in each direction before you push your shoulders backwards and down raising your chest bone.
  2. Now, notice to your breathing, how your chest raises and falls with every inbreath and outbreath. Try and inhale deeply into your lungs – this will also improve your lung capacity.  Wherever you notice it most strongly, let your mind rest on your breathing.
  3.  Now, focus your intention. Choose the place where you will walk and let it be somewhere where you will not be disturbed. You will be able to can settle into walking and give it your complete concentration.  In regular walking, we usually have somewhere to go to. In mindful walking, there is no, no destination to reach…. Simply set aside an amount of time to be aware of what is inside and around you.
  4. Notice your body and focus on the intention of wanting to move before you set off. Feel the weight of your body, the ground under you feet as you start off gently. Feel the movement of your toes, feet, legs, hips, arms… your breathing. Feel how your body sways from side to side as it is balancing your movement. Can you feel a sense of appreciation for the gift of walking? Continue to focus on all your body’s sensations: hearing, feeling, seeing, smelling…
  5. Once your mind has settled into this mindful walking you can start being aware of your environment:
  • the sun on your face
  • the rain drops or the wind brushing against your skin
  • the birds singing around you
  • the colours and the smell of the blossoms, trees and more
  • the sound of the river nearby
  • the clothes on your skin
  • the taste in your mouth….

Your mind will eventually start to wander off, perhaps planning the day ahead. I hope you will feel energised and tranquil at the same time. Nordic Walking in a mindful way will give you much more than a body workout.