Stepping outside: Getting in touch with your inner self outdoors

As our spring weather arrives in Canada many of us feel a strong yearning to be outdoors as much as possible during our few months of warmth.  At the same time, we also find ourselves social distancing and many may have limited access to outdoor spaces where we can safely stay away from others. 

A walking* meditation whilst reflecting is one way that you can enjoy being outdoors with limited space. 

So, how do you engage with a walking meditation?

To begin with, I would like to invite you to find a space where you feel comfort and can have minimal interruptions. 

Your space can be the size of a yoga mat or the length of your garden.  You can use a balcony, a bit of grass in the park, a section of the driveway. It works best if there are some visual marks at each end of your short path.  I like to use the bricks on my patio or the edge of my lawn.  

Once you’ve found your space, stand in place and feel the ground under your feet.  If you can go barefoot, give that a try for a greater connection.  Take a few deep breaths and notice your connection to the earth.  

When you are ready, inhale and lift up one foot.  Exhale as you plant it on the ground.  Inhale was you lift the other foot.  Repeat.  This is very slow.  Remember, it is a moving meditation, not a walk to get anywhere.  When you reach the end of your area, stand in place again for a couple deep breaths before deliberately turning around and walking back.  Repeat this pattern for five or ten minutes and notice if your sensations or emotions change over the course of the practice.  If sounds from human life or nature catch your attention, notice them and return your attention back to your breath and steps.

After you have practised, feel free to change the pace so that it works for you.  Perhaps you would feel better doing a whole step cycle on the in-breath or three steps per breath.  The idea is to connect your steps and your breathing by syncing them together. 

Get creative and make this practise your own.  Enjoy your step outdoors!

*You can adapt this walking meditation by wheeling outside and connecting with the earth or plants (tree bark, leaves, bushes) through your hands, or your arms – feeling the connection between nature and yourself.

Author: Sarah Good

Bio: Sarah Good is based out of Ottawa, Ontario. She is the Founder of Sarah Good Occupational Therapy, where she supports people living with chronic pain, women’s health issues, or mood disorders in becoming more active and living their lives more fully.


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