Our Practice – Walking is Yoga
Many years ago I transitioned from running (read- jogging as slow as I now walk) to walking.
I found it easier on my joints and my back and for me, more pleasurable. I walk fast, I ran slowly. I love walking with a friend, sometimes I listen to books or the news. Recently I started taking walks where I focused on nature, my breath, and my surroundings. Sometimes a brisk walk with human or audio stimulation gets the job done for exercise, and sometimes the solitary walk fits the bill. When I walk this way I often notice many things I would normally miss: deer, foxes, the beauty of the sun on the water. Recently I noticed a new house going up and wondered how did it get there and I hadn't noticed (must have been taking a lot of walks listening to the news!)
We often get caught up in our practice and forget what yoga really is. Yoga means union (yoke) and commonly this is translated to mean the union of the ego-self with the divine Self, the infinite spirit. Modern Western yoga in particular focuses on the postures and the health benefits. If we consider yoga a practice of meditation and postures we also recognize the goal of bringing harmony to mind and body. Remember Patanjali’s definition that “yoga is the cessation of the modifications, or fluctuations, of the mind”. I contend, therefore, that any activity that allows your mind an body to achieve harmony, is yoga.
Calming the mind whether during our yoga practice or when we are living our yoga off the mat (real life) is a challenge that I am continually working on. Monkey mind, racing mind, list making, we all do it, some of us more incessantly than others. I find walking in nature, even for a few minutes, helps me reset, find balance, especially during a stressful workday when of course we tell ourselves we are too busy to take the time! Instead of a long walk or long meditation, tell yourself 5 or 10 minutes is fine, get outside and move, relax, breathe. This too is yoga.
Meditation – Walking Meditation
“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms” - Thich Nhat Hanh
I recently watched a video where Thich Nhat Hanh speaks about walking meditation. He was ordained as a monk in Vietnam at age 16. He envisioned a kind of Buddhism that would respond directly to the needs of society. He was a teacher and social activist in his home country before finding himself exiled for calling for peace. In 2019 he was the first recipient of the Gandhi Mandela Peace Medal. For more on him, his work for peace and his teachings on mindfulness visit his website at:
The link to his video on walking meditation is:
Nurturing with Food – Tomato and White Bean Soup
We eat a lot of soup in our house. Even in summer. This year with a bumper crop of tomatoes, Pete came up with this delicious (vegan) version of tomato soup. Admittedly, his is usually eaten with a grilled cheese sandwich, but whatever you pair with it is great. You can use can or fresh tomatoes.
See you on the mat!