"Spirited walking" means finding a connection with something bigger than yourself -- and you can do that while walking. Some people say it's Mother Nature, it's God, it's the spirit of life. Whatever "it" is for you, anytime you find a connection with it, you're having a spirited and spiritual experience. There's a high that comes from combining walking and mindfulness – a kind of peace, quiet, and stress release that comes from shutting out everything else, even for five minutes. It's like meditating in motion.
How to do it: Walk by yourself in silence, then:
- Focus on the in and the out. Start by simply saying "in" and then "out" with your steps . . . it puts your mind in a sort of relaxing trance. I still do it every single time I start a walk. One step, in; next step, out. The rhythmic pattern tunes you in to what your body is doing.
- Then, count it out. Add counting and breathing to your pattern: Breathe in for a count of four and out for a count of four. This takes more concentration because we're not used to breathing in and out equally. Concentrating keeps you in the moment, which prevents your mind from wandering and worrying about everything else.
- Do a sensory scan. For a full minute, focus on what you're seeing, smelling, hearing, and even feeling under your feet. If you feel the wind on your face or hear the birds flying overhead -- focus on those sensations. If your mind wanders, don't worry. If you smell coffee from someone's kitchen, and it reminds you that you need to buy some, simply tell your mind, "Thank you very much," and go back to smelling the coffee, not starting a grocery list. This helps you practice being tuned in to what's around you. It makes you present and focuses or releases all the thoughts rattling in your head, so you get some mental peace.