In summer it’s great to stretch your legs and go for a walk in the country or along the beach. Mindful walking can give a new dimension to that experience: being truly in the present moment, creating harmony between your mind, your body, and your surroundings.
You can learn this technique with Matthieu Ricard’s description, and with Charles Hastings’ guided walking meditation, in his comprehensive course Meditation Practice Foundations. Start by walking very slowly, being aware of your posture and placing your foot precisely and correctly with full awareness. Then you can be mindful whenever you walk, with a better posture and distribution of your weight, and a feeling of being truly present in your body.
Maria João Pires considers this to be an essential part of her practice as a musician. She takes a long mindful walk every day, walking briskly, constantly aware of the state of her mind, the sensations in her body, and the ever-changing present moment of her surroundings:
You are walking and you see the landscape, the reaction inside goes outside and everything is one, a cycle. I observe how my heart is beating, my legs, my feet, everything. Somehow it’s as much about the body as about the mind. Yes, it’s to connect the mind and the body.
Find her precise description of how she unites mind, body and environment here.
This is something you can do anywhere. Not only in a beautiful natural environment, but walking to the shops or the station, or in your own home, moving peacefully, conscious of your mind, your body, your surroundings, and what you are doing.
What do we mean by mindfulness? As Matthieu Ricard puts it:
Mindfulness is a clear, stable, calm awareness of everything that arises within and around us from moment to moment, everything we see, hear, feel, and think.
You can find Matthieu’s clear description of how we understand mindfulness in Imagine Clarity, and how you can use it to create a harmonious and meaningful life, here.