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Get embodied with a morning walk

Pikes Peak from Garden of the Gods

I walk every morning, mostly a short walk with my dog, Bucky, but I sometimes take an hour long hike in my neighbourhood.

I used to walk in the morning as part of my chore, something on my to-do list. But at one point, I realised this can actually be part of my "Sadhana" which means "daily spiritual practice." When I consider my daily walk as Sadhana, it bring a completely different experience to a simple "walk." I'm more conscious of what I see. I'm more conscious of what my body needs.

It's quite dark at 6AM this time of the year, right before daylight saving time ends. I see sky full of stars as I walk out of the door. It's rather surreal, since what's commonly expected in a morning is bright sunshine to start the day. Instead, I see constellations like Orion, Canis Major, Gemini, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia... My eyesight is not so good and I cannot clearly see Ursa Minor but I can find the pole star.

And when I take a conscious walk, I feel more and more in my body. I get embodied. I feel more connection to the outer world as well as what I feel on my skin, in my muscles and joints, thoughts inside of me, etc. I can experience the world being with me, or me being with the world. In his book "Phenomenology of Perception," French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty explains: "To be a consciousness or rather to be an experience is to hold inner communication with the world, the body and other people, to be with them instead of being beside them." I think this passage resonates with noticing what's happening now, within me in relation to the outer world and the inner world. Which is one of important concept for Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Experiencing the moment as a whole: body, mind and spirit.

I'd like to invite you to take a conscious, mindful morning walk sometimes this week. It doesn't have to be every morning. See if you can explore it as a "walking meditation." If you start feeling like it's difficult to stay "conscious" or "mindful" as you walk, simply notice how you are feeling, without judging the thought. And as you make note of that in your mind, bring your awareness to your breath. Coming back to your breath is a great first step for being embodied.

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