Mindful Nature Walking for Enjoyment
Legs and feet of person walking away from us in the woods

Mindful Nature Walking for Enjoyment

In this technique you will walk with awareness for the sheer enjoyment of walking and being in nature. The purpose is to be in the present moment and aware of your breathing and your walking, to enjoy each step, and to imprint peace on the earth with the soles of your feet.

To begin, stand and take a moment to feel your whole body. Feel the connection of your body to the ground beneath you through your feet. Start off by walking slower than your normal pace, first paying attention to sensations on the soles of your feet as each part of the sole, from heel to toes, touch the ground. Next, coordinate your breath with your steps. For example, if you take three steps with each in-breath, then take three steps with each out-breath. If you find your mind is easily distracted by rumination or mental noise, then consider saying to yourself “in, in, in. Out, out, out” to help keep you in the present (you can let go of saying the words when you feel able to do so). Allow yourself to feel comfortable and peaceful while walking.

Notice how the body moves and how movement feels as you walk with your arms either swinging back and forth or clasped behind or in front of you. If your mind wanders back to ruminating thoughts, just notice this without judgment and then bring your attention back to the sensation of your feet – heel, toe, heel, toe - and the sensation of breathing (in, in, in, out, out, out).

Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet. From time to time, when you see something beautiful, you can stop to look at it deeply – a tree, a flower, a stream etc; feel free to touch what you are looking at. As you look, continue to notice your inhalations and exhalations as you breathe so as not to get caught up in rumination or thought. When you want to resume walking, just start again.
Continue walking with awareness, focusing on taking one step at a time until you come to a designated end point. Without interrupting the flow of mindful walking, bring awareness to the process of turning around and beginning to walk back to where you started.

From the blog post, Spending Time in Nature Can Help Heal Grief by Elizabeth Lewis.

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