Here is a part of my book on Mindful Walks ‘Mindful Walks to be in the present moment’ which focusses on a walk in nature. There are other techniques for walking in nature and this is just a start. Give it a go!
There are many opportunities to walk in nature and for most of us this also means we can start walking from our own front door which is exactly where every journey starts. We walk from wherever we are and begin from wherever our own starting point is which is how it should always be whatever we are starting.
Walking in a park/gardens
If this is the walk which appeals to you, then the choice is yours whether you want to find somewhere new to visit or you want to rediscover a walk you are used to doing, these tips will still help you enjoy a mindful walk.
1) Being aware of the body
This one helps you focus on the body as you move and become aware of any tensions, reactions or thoughts arising in parts of the body as you move along.
As you arrive at the place where you wish to walk then:
Find a place to start your walk
Stop to feel the whole body on the spot where you will begin
Take 3 breaths to settle your body and mind.
You may wish to feel yourself grounded on the spot before you start. I like to look at my feet and say, ‘I am here’ and you may find something which resonates with you more
You may wish to set your intention for your walk at this point and agree how long this exercise will take
Take the first step noticing which foot you set off from, notice how it feels when the bottom of the foot touches the ground, how the rest of the foot feels as it starts its walk through
Be aware of the rest of the body throughout that first step, does it feel any different now you have your full attention on it
What thoughts are arising in your mind, perhaps you notice pain somewhere in the body or you feel the body releasing some tension already from the promise of a walk
Now switch to the next foot and notice any differences in how that steps forward and rolls through for the whole step
Bring your attention to the breath as you start your walk
You may wish to take a slower than normal pace whilst focusing on the body with each movement
It’s natural that your mind may wander or you may feel silly if you come across others whilst taking such a slow, focussed walk and that is perfectly okay, simply notice what feelings arise, acknowledge and accept them and return to your breath
At the end of the exercise, you may wish to make note of any thoughts or feelings that arose during your walk and if there was any pain around the body, you may wish to be aware of where that came from and why.