When we think of yoga we often think of going to a class, whether it is in a building or in the open air, yoga mat in tow, with a teacher or instructor of some sort leading the way. However yoga, in its truest sense, is union with self. Esoteric Yoga refers to innermost union, so this means that we can turn anything and everything into an opportunity to be connecting with our body and developing conscious presence. This is all part of supporting ourselves to develop union with our Soul.
There is far more to us that just our physical body - but it all starts with our body.
Going for a walk is a wonderful opportunity to check in and see whether we are in our head or in our body. It sounds a little strange, but next time you go for a walk, observe how much of the time your mind is wandering off in thoughts that have nothing to do with what you are doing. We call this checking out. The body is still walking along, but we are not there. This is actually a very exhausting way of living as not all of our energy is focused on what we are doing, we are fragmented – a bit of us over there, a bit of us here – you get the picture.
So walking, just like many other everyday activities, can be a truly supportive part of our day. If we are in an office, walking to the bathroom, preparing something in the kitchen or just moving between rooms every step offers us the opportunity to check in with our body.
A great question to ask yourself is “can I feel my legs and my feet as I moved from A to B?”
If not, that’s the sign that you are not in your body.
We can go for a walk and be thinking about a million and one things or we can go for a walk and be focusing on our body and what we are doing in that particular moment. The latter is walking with conscious presence. Walking and thinking and walking with presence are two very different experiences. While they both may look similar to the casual observer, let's look closer at the difference between the two.
Walking and thinking
Walking is a very physical activity, but it can also be a very mental activity too. When we walk and think we aren’t really there with the walk. We may not even be feeling our body or be aware of our movements. When we are walking and thinking of other things that have nothing to do with the walk, we are missing out on the benefits that walking actually offers.
Walking with conscious presence
Walking can be a wonderful way to develop connection and presence with our body. When we walk and keep our mind focused on our walk and what we are experiencing in that moment the purpose and quality of our walk changes entirely. This means that walking is never about excersise alone. There is far more going on that we are often aware of. When our mind is with what we are doing we start to become more aware of how our body feels.
This may include:
In a world of incredible technological advances and access to endless information on anything we can think of, it is puzzling to see something as simple and accessible as walking with conscious presence be so overlooked and undervalued. Walking with conscious presence has the potential to leave us feeling less stressed, more connected to our body, more aware of how we are actually feeling, rejuvenated and with a clearer mind. While walking and letting the mind wander off leaves us dis-connected from our body, not really there and more drained after our walk.
Walking is a way of deepening our connection with our body, clearing our mind and returning to an awareness of our Soul and therefore the more subtle and meaningful aspects of life. Next time you go for a walk, enjoy exploring the simplicity, beauty, clarity and power that walking with conscious presence offers.