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Walking Meditation: Kiss the Earth with Your Feet

Walking meditation can be sacred dance between our body and the earth. As we walk slowly and mindfully, we can connect with the natural world around us and cultivate a connection to ourself and the more-than-human world. The Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh beautifully describes this practice when he says, "Walk as though you are kissing the earth with your feet." Lets take a moment to savor those words and allow them to guide us into the spirit of walking meditation.

How to Practice Walking Meditation

  1. To begin our walking meditation, we find a quiet and peaceful place to walk, such as a park or spot in nature.

  2. We stand still and take a few deep breaths, allowing ourselves to arrive fully in the present moment. We set an intention to be fully present and aware as we walk. Each step is a chance to reconnect with ourself and the world around us.

  3. We start to walk slowly and mindfully, with each step feeling the gentle pressure of the earth beneath our feet. With each step we might like to say silently to ourselves, "Arrived" - a reminder we are not walking to get anywhere but to arrive more deeply in the present moment. We can imagine that with each step, we are leaving a kiss of gratitude and love on the earth.

  4. As we walk, we open our senses to the natural world around us. We can notice the colors, shapes, and textures of the plants and trees, the whistling of the leaves in the wind, the song of the birds, and the cool breeze on our skin. We allow ourselves to be fully immersed in the beauty and wonder of the world.

  5. As we continue to walk, we let go of any distractions or thoughts that may arise. If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breath and your steps.

  6. You can practice walking meditation for as long as you like, but even a few minutes can have a positive impact on your well-being. Try to establish a regular practice, and remember that it's okay to start small and gradually increase your practice over time.

Walking meditation can also be a great way to balance our sedentary lifestyles. Many of us spend long hours sitting in front of a computer screen or stuck in traffic, which can cause tension and stiffness in our bodies. Walking meditation allows us to move our bodies in a gentle and mindful way, releasing tension and increasing blood flow to our muscles and organs.

Walking in nature is also a form of forest bathing; the practice of immersing oneself in nature and experiencing its scientifically proven healing and calming effects on the nervous system. Walking in nature, we open our senses to the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world, and allow them to soothe our senses and calm our minds. In a natural enviroment its found that our breathing becomes slower and deeper, and our body feels more relaxed and at ease.

Try it for yourself- even in a busy city you can enjoy walking mindfully, present for each step and enjoying the sky-scapes above.

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