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Mindful Nordic Walking

Mindful Nordic walking is a moving meditation that helps you create your own fluid pace that harmonizes mind and body.

We spend a great deal of time thinking of the past or future, planning or daydreaming. Paying attention to the body, and getting away from your thoughts as you walk will help you enjoy being alive in the here and now.

Mindful Nordic walking brings a heightened alertness to your activity. You notice the world around you with greater clarity.   The rhythmic nature of using the poles and swinging your arms requires little attention from the conscious mind, so you are more aware of your surroundings and walk more upright than normal.

 

TIPS FOR MINDFUL NORDIC WALKING

  • Start by standing still and noticing where your weight falls through your foot. Is it towards the balls of your feet or the heels? Shift your weight around and be aware of how that affects the contact with the ground. Ideally your weight should be balanced through the center of your feet, falling through your arches.
  • Allow your knees to bend slightly and feel your hips as your center of gravity. Take a few deep belly breaths and bring your awareness into the present moment.
  • Begin walking and notice how the foot strikes the ground with the heel, rolling forwards to push off from the toes. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your focus back to the act of your feet pacing the ground alternately.  With each step, be aware of the gentle heel-to-toe rhythm as each foot makes contact with the ground.
  • After a minute or two, shift your attention to the sensation of movement in the body. Notice how the weight shifts from the right side to the left side and then back again in a steady rhythm. Try to avoid artificially adjusting your speed or trying to walk at a certain pace. Instead, observe the way you walk and the rhythm you’ve become accustomed to.
  • Use the rhythm of the walking, the physical sensation of the soles of the feet touching the ground, as your base of awareness, a place you can mentally come back to once you realize the mind has wandered off.
  • Breathe naturally and fully, deeply filling your lungs with each inhalation. Allow your eyes to focus softly ahead of you, taking in as much of the periphery as comfortable. Try to maintain a soft body and breathing awareness as you walk naturally and easily.
  • Begin by noticing what you see going on around you. Notice the colours and shapes, the movement and the stillness. There’s no need to think about what you’re seeing – simply to see it and acknowledge it is enough.
  • Then turn your attention to sounds – what can you hear? Without getting caught up in thinking about the objects of sound, take a moment to be aware of them, as though they are just coming and going in your field of awareness.
  • Next turn your attention to smells, some of which may be pleasant and others not so pleasant. Notice how the mind habitually wants to create a story out of each of the smells, how it reminds you of somewhere, something or someone.
  • Make a point of noticing any physical sensations or feelings. Perhaps it’s the feeling of warm sunshine, cool rain or a cold breeze. Perhaps it’s the sensation of the soles of the feet touching the ground with each step. The intention is to simply acknowledge the sensations without feeling the need to get involved in thinking about the feelings.
  • As you continue to walk, don’t try to prevent any of these things from entering your field of awareness – simply notice as they come and go, how one thing is constantly being replaced by the next.  When your attention drifts away from the sensations of walking and breathing, take notice of those thoughts, moods, or emotions without judgment and guide your awareness back to the present moment, back to the mindful Nordic walking.
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