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 Healthcare - Holistic and Modern
 Intentional Walking
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2054 Posts

Posted - Apr 14 2022 :  03:57:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
This pandemic has driven my yoga outside, and it’s become the silver-est of linings. 2020 my wife bought me a Fit Bit, a device you can set desired daily goals and it tracks it and charts it for you in steps, miles traveled, calories burned, minutes active, duration of sleep, and resting heart rates, serving my masculine desire to break things apart, and it’s a lot of valuable data in using yoga to encourage change in my body. My daily goal is ten thousand steps; an hour and a half of continuous walking would meet that.

My latest challenge is my posture: a friend recently took a profile pic of me and I was disturbed to see I was standing like a lazy S. I told this to my wife and she said “that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, you always thrust your hips forward when you stand.” While I know she has never described it as thrusting before, she has told me I slouch. On top of that, I take two mild medications for prior issues in my thoracic and cervical spine. I did a deep YouTube dive, and evaluated myself in a three way mirror, and built my posture from the ground up: favor the balls of my feet, tilt my butt slightly back and gentle acknowledge my core, my shoulder go over my hips, and gently rest my head upright ‘on a headrest’. I take this mindset with me throughout the day (a week now) and especially in my walks.

I am so blessed I live in a beautiful New England (USA) coastal town, the area rich in scenery (even the AYP kind), sea faring and granite mining; the woods are steeped in history and mystery, many of the trails are old rail beds. The woods are for meandering, and the roads, for pace, stature, and pranayama. My default is inhale, three part breath, then exhale half, then half again, and then, holding gently and momentarily, my belly to spine. I have more than a dozen hiking loops “stepped out” from my home, and can stitch together a walk depending on the time I am willing to devote to it. My day feels incomplete unless I have done at least a half hour. This truly is Me Time, and usually happens in the afternoon, early evening, when the light is golden, the air fragrant in peat and weather (currently spring). And if I can get an afternoon meditation in, there is no better time, either on, or after the walk. When I go, the first steps are always emptying the mind, and asking for silence, and feeling whatever arises. On the road, my legs and arms are pistons; in the silence I ask myself if I am thrusting, are my shoulders above my hips, and check in with the shushumna, the root, the solar center, the heart, the throat, the third eye. Silence as white noise is in my left ear, and guru whispers in my right your shoulders ARE over your hips, but your neck needs to roll, it is too tight.

This is what I call my Intentional Walking, no headphones for me, using attention, breath, exercise, and intention to build my spiritual body. I have found walking outside to be incredibly grounding, especially with an active imagination and conductivity. This truth is supported by experience. Inside a body propelling through time and space, legs and arms pistons, constant, active; the breath aligning as it wants. In between my guru’s observations, the silence is there for the asking. Along the way, inevitably, I arrive at a place where I can face the sun, or moon, depending on the time, and give myself five minutes to stop and look up in gratitude, and move my body in whatever asana it requires in that very minute, at that particular space and time.

Inevitably, along the way, a constant low-resolution arousal in my pelvis, no wonder, my pace has my heart rate up, my walk is true and purposeful and prana is stirring. There is a connection between there and my nostrils. By flaring them, sensation expands and arises, slowly, upward. I have matured enough to know it is not in my best interest to push and pull it this way and that; I have found it better to let it steep and simmer in the lower cauldron, and express it outwardly from the solar center, tickling the third and fourth chakra in the process. And if arousal presents itself too strongly, I imagine it spilling away in all bodily directions, through my feet directly into the earth, through my fingertips, solar center, mouth and breath, tongue, eyes, and of course Ajna, surrender it all if it were mine in the first place, I am inside and out and inside out. Perhaps change.

Edited by - Dogboy on Apr 14 2022 04:02:45 AM


1481 Posts

Posted - Apr 14 2022 :  07:09:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Dogboy,

Interesting. In my case, kundalini naturally straightened out my standing, sitting and walking posture long time ago. I often feel "lighter than air".

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475 Posts

Posted - Apr 15 2022 :  01:18:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dogboy, As I read your post I was thinking of the images of the relaxed buddha with his big belly. He seems to be quite content in his imperfection. I hear some self judgement and spousal judgement in this post. I can relate to this as my teenage son incessantly teases me about my imperfect belly lacking a refined six pack. I certainly appreciate the value of good posture and its relationship to asana's and gait but wonder if this struggle might be one to release samyama style after doing your best to improve as much as you can.
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2054 Posts

Posted - May 25 2022 :  03:08:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
It’s been a couple months since committing to daily walks, and maybe six weeks since paying close attention to posture, and I am reporting back that this attention is working. I have the photos to prove it, having just returned from a week away. I discovered my core was lazy in my body-less moments, and the fix was gentle attention at the base of my core, and stack the rest of the spine on top of that. Enough attention there throughout the day is obviously building body memory.

When in sitting meditation, the root chakra is paramount, yet in walking, it seems the root has dropped to my feet and the second chakra ‘steps forth’. The act of walking, the rhythmic strut forward, the elevated heart rate, the emptying of the mind and inward reflection, stimulates arousal and prana movement. This is followed by integrating it with pranayama (for me, three part inhale and exhale), absorbing, surrendering. The journey unfolds in waves in this way, rising and falling; all I have to do is be open to what is.

One of the biggest fruits of this mobile practice is how stable, and streamlined, my sitting practice has become. I am down to three or four minutes of SBP, the time to settle my seat, move my spine, empty thought and listen for silence. Tracing the spine is ideal for this, and I imagine the shushumna opening as much as today allows. As AYAM commences it is empty and wide, a chamber for Shiva and Shakti to melt into each other and my Self.
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