10 minutes of happy: walking
Have you heard that sitting is one of the worst things you can do for yourself? We weren’t designed to sit for extended periods, yet many of us will sit in the same slouched position for the majority of our day. If you’re usually stuck at your desk all day, find new ways to add some extra steps. Taking the bus or parking on the far end of the lot will help. You can also set a reminder to step away from your desk and go for a stroll by the office.
Walking is something we do every day but we are usually absent for the process. Our minds are usually working even faster than our legs are – jumping from thought to thought, to-do to to-do. Walking is seen as a means to an end, it gets us from point A to point B. It’s only when you’ve been injured that you’re reminded of the complexity of movements involved with this habitual activity. There’s a way to be deeply mindful of these movements without the bummer of being hurt.
10 minutes of happy: walking
Whenever you take the time to explore something you do all the time, you start to appreciate all that goes into it. Our bodies are phenomenal performers. They’re complicated and intricate, yet they seem to move with such ease. Once you realize all that it takes to make a few steps happen you’ll be grateful for the hard work your body puts in. Here’s how to find happy while walking.
Step No. 1: Find your starting point.
Whether you’re doing laps around the office or going along a path, find your starting point. Stand tall with both feet placed firmly on the ground. Take a deep breath. Feel the earth beneath your feet, the weight distributed evenly. Gently bend your knees and breathe. Follow your natural breath for 10 counts. Notice what thoughts are passing through your mind and release them. Each time your mind carries you down a different path, return to the breath.
Step No. 2: Take your first steps.
As you begin to walk, pay attention to the feeling of the movements of your body. Notice any stiffness or flexibility. Watch how your foot hits the ground and feel the sensations through the foot. Is the surface of the earth smooth or rough? Is your right stride the same length of your left? There’s no right or wrong, just noticing.
Step No. 3: Keep breathing.
As you notice all that’s happening in this routine activity, remember to continue to follow your breath. Breathe naturally and notice the patterns. Is your inhale the same length as your exhale? Can you feel your breath on your nostrils?
Step No. 4: Notice what’s around you.
As you pay attention to the way your muscles are working to keep you moving forward, open your senses to what’s around you. What sounds surround you? Can you feel the breeze on your skin? Are there any smells or tastes?
Step No. 5: Watch the mind.
As you move, your mind will too. Notice as your thoughts drift away from the focus of your movement and surroundings and gently bring it back. This time is dedicated to noticing the intricacies of the world around you, listen for the silence between sounds and thoughts.
Step No. 6: Find your end point.
When you’re ready to head back to your desk take a moment to pause, like you did when you started. Stand with your weight evenly distributed through both feet and take a deep breath. Noticing the sensations your body is experiencing and the activities of the mind. If you’d like, this would be a good time to set an intention for your next work period. Thank yourself for taking the time to practice this exercise.