Mindful movement is a great way to slow down and enter the world of meditation. Mindful movement can take a number of forms such as walking, yoga, repetitive exercise, stretching. Each offers gentle and easy ways for people of all ages to engage and appreciate this restorative practice. As adults dealing with our stressful intense lives it is important that we slow down. Furthermore, as leaders, it is critical that we role model mindful practices and introduce them to our children.
Teaching was an all-encompassing job. I had to work very hard at including my much-needed fitness routines into my life. During the last six years of teaching kindergarten, I was completely exhausted at the end of my day. Consequently, it required me to wake up at 5:15 a.m. to allow for enough time to get ready to head to the gym for a 6 a.m. spinning class. This was done 3 days during the work week then at more reasonable times once and sometimes twice on the weekend. It was the only way I could guarantee that I would get in the cardio exercise my body needed.
After retiring and moving to Vancouver Island, I have made several shifts to my fitness and mindfulness routines. When living on Bear Mountain I began to walk 4-5 times per week for about 45 minutes. During these times I began to pray the rosary. In addition, I would still go to the gym 3-4 times a week in order to use the elliptical and weight equipment.
Since moving to Comox and given Covid restrictions, things have shifted again to a more moderate but more frequent engagement in mindful fitness. Now I walk 6-7 days per week for a 5K walk which includes 300 stairs. In the summer I add an hour barefoot beach walk at low tide. I continue to say the rosary during my walks and have now begun to work at concentrating on breathing while praying. Do chattering distracting thoughts break through? Yes, they certainly do, however, I keep circling back to breath and awareness of movement. I no longer go to the gym but supplement my fitness with free weights at home and following the 30 days of yoga practice YouTube videos with Yoga with Adriene. All in all, it is an inch by inch progression towards mindful fitness.
I have also found great inspiration from friends who are avid walkers. My one friend Sallie walks her dogs vigorously a couple of times a day. Her meditative walks usually are along the beach or in the forest. We live a distance from each other, hence I’m not able to get out for joint walks often, but when we do it is joyously invigorating and inspiring.
Several years ago we were out on a spring beach walk. We walked side by side sharing thoughts or in silence taking in the breathtaking ocean sights. While walking I began to write thinking of Sallie by the seashore. I played with alliteration as she walked while guiding her dogs. I went home and wrote Sallie and Sheba then illustrated the story with acrylic paints. Here is the YouTube link to the story that you can share with the children in your life.
May this story of Sallie and Sheba inspire you to get out and explore with open abandon the joys and peace that mindful movement offers.
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