Background: Mindful practices are rooted in the idea that our senses live in the now. They have no memory, anxiety, hopes, or fears. So whenever we engage and tune into our senses, we are helping to locate ourselves right here and right now.
There are many ways to use this. For example: listening to a familiar song, but identifying one particular instrument and only focusing on this for the whole song. Or doing yoga or dancing, with a particular awareness to one particular body part or sensation.
In today’s practice, I will break this down for one way of approaching a mindful walk. As with all practice, please engage in this safely. Be aware of where you are going, how you will get home, and your physical limitations around how far you should walk.
1. Before you begin, have your shoes ready.
2. Sit and center yourself. Release yourself from other responsibilities. Take 3 deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
3. Stretch, hydrate yourself, and consider your route as needed.
4. Begin your walk. Focus on a single sensation through out. You might choose any one of these:
* The feeling of the air as it enters through your nose on the inhale.
* The feeling of your diaphragm expanding with each breath.
* The feeling on the sole of your foot as it makes contact with the ground each time.
* The feeling of any soreness or tightness. (It’s a strange thing, drawing our awareness to physical hurts. In my experience, doing it casually makes it feel worse. But committing to mindfully inhabitting an ache or a pain is a way to befriend the pain, and realize that pain is only pain.)
* Looking for a particular shape or color everywhere it appears.
* Being on-the-look-out for all the different smells you can notice.
* Being on-the-look-out for all the difference temperature changes or air movements that come to your cheeks.
5. To whatever extent it is safe to do so, do not consciously consider the route you are going to take. Dwell inside the perception you chose and let your body decide where you are going to go.
6. Whenever your brain begins to do its job of thinking, return to your breath or your chosen sensation.
7. When your walk is completed, spend a few minutes sitting with your chosen sensation and breathing.
Throughout your day today, return to your sensation.
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