Walking with conscious presence
Walking with conscious presence
Walking can be a great form of exercise – an opportunity to connect with yourself, your movements and a deeper sense of you.
With walking promoted as a great way to get fit, support mental health and build good habits for life in children and adults alike, there is clearly something in the motion of walking that can very much support the mind and body.
Do you ever find yourself walking and using that time to think about something else, or needing to get from A to B but in your mind you’re already at B or still back at A, or with the headphones playing, or texting as you walk? This is not uncommon; we often experience these distracted thoughts and see people on their phones out walking everywhere. Yet there is a way of being with ourselves and walking that is far from this distraction; can we walk whilst our mind is with the movements we’re making and be consciously present?
Walking this way with our mind and movements together connects us more with the nature of the movement itself and offers a deeper connection to ourselves.
By being present with that movement we’re able to take note of how the walk feels and what’s going on in the body at that point in time. We might make adjustments in respect of posture or slight pain or discomfort and equally can enjoy the motion of the walk and the way the body feels as it moves.
When we stay consciously present with how we’re moving it could be said we’re moving with ourselves, we’re reducing the outside interference of thoughts that take us away from our body or have us daydreaming about what could happen, might happen, did happen, should have happened. The focus is on the simplicity of movement, of placing one foot in front of the other, literally, and feeling the body as it moves.
Undeniably it has become common, even expected, to move with multiple distractions in our days and in our minds, that this singular focus might at first sound painfully tedious. Yet it is far from it when we feel the depth of our inner-connection from being consciously present with our bodies, and the detail and awareness that comes with this quality of movement. What if we were to consider that we have been robbed of this when we’ve spent the day in our heads rather than with our movement?
In distraction our movements change – we all know the bumps and bangs that happen, the odd oven burn, even dropping things or miscalculating a turn and encountering the table corner. To cope with such assaults our body and our movements harden, and in the disconnection from our body and reduced ease and fluidity of movement we end up feeling more tired, even exhausted over time.
But there is more going on than just the physical consequences of separating our awareness from our body’s movements.
When we are present with our movements, whether that’s walking, exercising, working or cooking, we are developing a connection with ourselves that supports an inner environment, whereby our state of being is supported and mental and emotional states such as anxiousness, stress or depression cannot so easily take hold.
With a connection and awareness with the body we become accustomed to being with ourselves, knowing ourselves with more detail and to greater depth, and from this depth we are more readily able to observe and not react when emotions or challenges arise.
It is a two-fold shift; a physical strength and ease develops in place of the hardened body, and a sentient connection to a deeper aspect of ourselves offers a level of wellbeing, stillness and confidence that can only come from within.
Our connection to ourselves and how we move is everything.
At first – and I know from experience the first time I brought my presence to my walk I could walk no further than a few steps before my mind would be off elsewhere – I found I could focus on a point on the pavement a few steps ahead and hold that focal point until I could get to it. Sometimes I had to make that a closer point to be able to stay aware of my movement – even counting the steps to get myself closer to being present and focussed on what my body was doing. But what this practice did was introduce me to the possibility of connection that became an ever-deepening relationship with the beauty of moving the body and being consciously present with it, listening to what it was signalling back to me through the details I was starting to feel in the movement, and the quality I was moving in.
Moving with conscious presence became a key support in building a stronger body, and undeniably a deeper relationship with myself. The innermost qualities that I became familiar with are there always, still and steady and consistent to come back to no matter the stress or crazy things that try to impact our days.
Staying present and conscious of our movement brings an ease and flow into the day and a simplicity that knocks out the complications of overwhelm, doubt, insecurity and anxiousness. You can be the master of your own movement.
Walking with Conscious Presence
Bringing conscious presence to our walk through connection to the feet and body. Walking with focus on parts of the body to bring awareness to what can be felt during movement.