Into The Woods – Walking Meditation

 

forest-walk

Many people say they don’t meditate because they can’t sit still. Not a problem. Walking can be a form of moving meditation. People find walking meditation easier than seated meditation because the motion of the body helps them to stay anchored in the present moment.

Both walking and meditation are good lifestyle choices and an antidote to stress. Together they offer significant health benefits.

 

Health Advantages of Walking

Walking has been proven to help in: maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, improving coordination and strengthening bones and muscles. It also aids in regulating moods because it boosts brain chemistry and releases feel good endorphins. Walking can even prevent or control heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. ¹

 

Health Advantages of Meditation 

Meditation can give a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. It helps clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to stress. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day increasing patience, imagination and creativity. ²

 

Where to Walk and Meditate

Find an open space away from noise and traffic. Forests and woodlands provide wonderful restorative environments where you can enjoy walking.

Linda-Eichberg-forest-gratitude

There is rising evidence that forests and green spaces contribute to our physical, mental and social well-being. Exposure to natural environments, forests specifically, has stress-reducing effects due to their attractive landscapes, light conditions and air composition (including natural essential oils). In addition, they can be inexpensive to visit, enabling everyone to be included in their health benefits.

 

Turning Your Walk Into a Meditation

Begin by standing with your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides. Take long, slow and deep breaths. As you exhale, let go of any unnecessary tension, smile softly, and let your attention flow deep into your hips. Relax your pelvis, to a neutral position, (neither tipped up nor down). Feel a connection to the heavens with the top of your head and to the earth with your feet.

Next, coordinate your breathing with your steps, taking several steps with your inhale, and several steps with your exhale. Keep a relaxed pace with no thought of “getting somewhere”.

Once you are comfortable coordinating breath and movement you may become aware of other body sensations, the smell of the forest or the feeling under your foot as it makes contact with the forest floor.

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Kissing The Earth

Try this beautiful visualization: Each time you place one of your feet down, imagine that you are kissing the earth through the sole of your foot. Each time you pick up one of your feet, imagine that a beautiful flower is blossoming in the place that your foot just was. “In this way, our walking becomes a way of expressing our love for the earth, and of creating beauty with each step.” ³

If something beautiful or interesting catches your eye while walking and you can’t let go of it, stop walking and do a looking meditation.

Linda-Eichberg-forest

Grateful – Taking a moment of gratitude for mother nature and her forests. I see miracles of God and life everywhere.

 

Where there is gratitude, there is love, growth and healing.

Be blessed, Linda

 

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. – Psalm 96:12

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858
  3. https://www.thoughtco.com/practice-walking-meditation-p2-3182955

 

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Yoga Befits Children Of All Ages

In our family, we practice yoga for fun as much as for its many health benefits.

yoga-Linda-Eichberg-Garland-pose-with-bind

Garland pose with a bind

During family gatherings my grandniece, Riley, will frequently pull me aside and ask me to show her some new yoga poses. Children’s brains and bodies easily take to this form of exercise.

Riley-childrens-yoga-garland

Squat – opens the hips and groin as it stretches and strengthens the hips and ankles

Children who practice yoga postures, conscious breathing and mindfulness are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, according to scientific studies. They may also have better eating habits and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Yoga addresses the whole child, encouraging academic and emotional competence. “The studies also illustrate that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are much happier kids.” ¹

childrens-yoga

Yoga Increases Static Motor Performance.

A sample of children from ages 9 to 13 were divided into two groups. One group received yogic training (physical postures, voluntary regulation of breathing, maintenance of silence, visual focusing exercises, and games to improve attention span and memory) while the other did not. Over a ten-day period, the children in each group were tested to observe their steadiness. The yoga group showed a 17% increase in steadiness while the control group showed no improvement. The study concludes that yogic instruction improves children’s ability to control their minds and bodies. ² 

Jocelyn-Alberici-Marianna-Riccio

My nieces, Jocelyn and Marianna practice their splits together on family vacation.

Children Following Yoga Training Improved Their Visual Perceptual Sensitivity.

A study of 14 children with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years who received 10 days of yoga training and another group who did not receive yoga training were assessed on Day 1 and Day 10 for visual perceptual sensitivity through Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency (CFF) and degree of illusion. Yoga group practiced postures and meditation, along with specific activities to improve memory and attention. Following 10 days of yoga training, the yoga group showed a significant increase in CFF and decrease in degree of illusion while the control group showed no change. The study suggests that children can show better improvement in performance in a relatively short amount of time.³

Linda-Eichberg-Riley-Krugh-camel-pose-yoga

Me and Riley working on our Camel Pose

Twenty Benefits of Yoga for Children

The following are just some of the recognized benefits of yoga for children (and adults):

  1. Develops a strong and flexible body
  2. Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
  3. Assists neuromuscular-development
  4. Increases balance, body awareness and coordination
  5. Improves posture and alignment
  6. Reduces injuries and improves performance
  7. Improves digestion, circulation and elimination
  8. Strengthens the immune system
  9. Relaxes the body, promoting better sleep
  10. Calms and clears the mind, bringing us into the present moment
  11. Increases concentration, focus, memory and attention span
  12. Stimulates auditory processing and responsiveness
  13. Expands imagination and creativity
  14. Alleviates tension, stress and anxiety
  15. Balances energy (high or low)
  16. Builds confidence and self-esteem
  17. Develops discipline and self-control
  18. Supports individuality and self-expression
  19. Encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle
  20. Promotes an overall sense of well-being

Yoga helps children feel more comfortable with their bodies and helps them get in touch with who they are inside. “A child who learns yoga, mindfulness and relaxation will be developing essential skills for a lifetime of health and wellness in mind, body and spirit.” 4

Best in health, Linda

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)

 

For more info, please visit my website!

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.thekidsyogaresource.com/2012/09/research-on-yoga-for-children.html
  2. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ips/om.aspx
  3. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ypp.aspx
  4. http://www.yoga4classrooms.com/benefits-of-yoga-in-schools

 

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