“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir
What is mindfulness?
If you're new to mindfulness, you might imagine it has something to do with shaving your head and sitting cross-legged on a cushion. You need not burn incense and live in an ashram to reap its many benefits.
People who practice mindfulness don't have to follow a particular religion or way of life. In fact, it's common to find employees of large corporations using mindfulness to inspire productivity and a positive mood. It's natural and has positive side effects.
When you are mindful, you develop pinpoint focusing. Each action is the center of your attention, and you immerse yourself in your senses. Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way, on purpose in the present moment. You might follow your breath or focus on the soles of your feet. Or, you can focus on walking, eating, or washing the dishes. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you apply your attention.
The medical profession, fitness experts, and weight-loss instructors have long extolled the virtues of walking for overall improved health. In addition to burning calories, toning muscle, improving respiration, reducing risk of bone fractures, improving breathing, and increasing energy, medical science has concluded that walking is beneficial to mental health.
Mindful walking is a profound way to strengthen our connection to our body and the earth. Walk slowly and think about the act of walking. Notice what it feels like to walk, how your leg muscles stretch when you extend your legs and the way your body weight shifts as you move
Walk slowly and think about the act of walking. Notice what it feels like to walk, how your leg muscles stretch when you extend your legs and the way your body weight shifts as you move.
Note the carriage of your upper body as you walk, the temperature of your skin, and the texture of your clothing. Recognize what your feet feel like in your footwear. Are they cool and comfortable? Do your shoes rub?
Experience the texture of the ground underfoot. Is it soft? Slippery? Hard? How does the texture influence the sensation of walking? Do your feet sink into the ground? Does your body jolt when each foot pushes off the floor to move forward?
If your mind drifts, pull your attention back to the act of walking. Develop a complete awareness of the experience. Don't use your inner voice; just feel the effects of walking in your mind and body.
Mindful Walking absorbs your attention. You don't worry about problems, make plans, or relive painful memories when you are mindful. Anxiety leaves and you have a respite from stress. You take deep, healthful breaths that supply more oxygen to your brain. As a result, clarity and well-being are experienced.
AnJenette Afridi, MA, ERYT-500, is a pioneer in Lifestyle Medicine, Mindful-Based Strategies, and Creator of INHALE EXHALE SMILE℠ Meditation and Mindfulness Targeted Skills-Based Training. AnJenette is a Lifestyle Medicine Consultant and a Meditation and Mindfulness Master Teacher with 30+ years in private practice. “AJ’s” professional credentials include a Master’s Degree in Psychology (MA) 1997, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT-500) 2002, American Psychological Association (APA) Member 1996, American College of Lifestyle Medicine Member, Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine Member, and Harvard Medical School CEU’s in Lifestyle Medicine and Mind Body Medicine (Herbert Benson, MD) the last 15 years.
INHALE EXHALE SMILE℠ with AJ via Phone, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, WebEx. (Due to Covid, AJ has limited in-person availability at an event, walkshop, offsite, or at AJ’s San Francisco Bay Area office, please inquire.)
AnJenette aka AJ has worked with corporations, hospitals, health centers, schools, and private clientele including adults and children. She is often featured at public and private in-person and online events, and she hosts events as well. AJ's warmth, credibility, and energetic sense of humor create an atmosphere that supports expansion, creativity, and abundant possibility.
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical issue or disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this article and will not be held responsible for the content of this article. The information in this article is not intended to replace a personal relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal health care provider for specific medical advice.