Springtime creates the perfect opportunity for spending more time outdoors. It’s simply wonderful to breathe in the nourishing fresh air, not to mention a much-needed dose of vitamin D to make us feel better.
Going out for a walk is also extremely beneficial for our physical and mental health too. The figure of 10,000 steps is often thrown around in conversation, but the truth is that upping your number of daily steps, no matter how many is always going to be a good thing.
National Walking Day 2022
You might wonder, why celebrate walking? After all, it’s not always given as much attention as other forms of exercise, and many of us view it as a means to an end or as something we ‘do’. But research has shown that walking for thirty to sixty minutes per day can drastically improve your health. It shouldn’t come as a surprise because humans are animals and our bodies have been built to move rather than staying put in one place or position.
The result of physical inactivity is that it can lead to all manner of health problems, while it’s been proven that walking can decrease the risk of illnesses like cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression. When you put it like that, why wouldn’t you do it?
National Walking Day originally came about to encourage people to adopt walking as part of their lifestyle. And the great thing is that it’s easy, free and you can do it anywhere! Whether you want a spiritual walk through the woods, a leisurely stroll around a zoo with the grandchildren, a sociable ramble with a local walking group or a speed walk to increase your aerobic exercise, there’s always a way to tailor walking to your needs.
Don’t be put off because it sounds a bit new-age, rest assured that yoga walking has been around for centuries and combines walking with yoga, breath, and meditation
First off, you can do yoga walking anywhere you like. So, even if you don’t live in the heart of the country, that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and take advantage of the immense benefits that yoga walking can offer.
Begin by closing your eyes and start to cultivate an awareness of the sounds around you. Really tune into the sounds in your environment and listen out for those furthest away and then closest to you. Think about which ones resonate with you today and how they make you feel. Now take three deep abdominal breaths and fill the air inflating your diaphragm then expelling from it.
Then, when you’re ready, open your eyes and begin walking. It's fine to build up to a fast pace and then as you near the end of the walk, take the pace down gradually.
As you walk, notice the pressure as your feet contact the ground and then lift off and then when your foot propels forward. Where do you feel it in your body? What sensations do you feel in your feet, legs or arms? How does it feel when a breeze flutters across your face? Where is your body warm or cold? What sights do you see on your walk? It’s very much about being mindful and noticing what’s happening in the present moment.
Notice how you’re feeling emotionally today too. If something is making you feel angry, use the walk to release that anger. Stomp the ground hard and feel the anger being released. You can also rotate your shoulders and hips to create movement and work on muscular tension that has built up there.
Yoga and Walking
It’s lovely to combine yoga with walking for maximum beneficial effect. When you’ve finished yoga walking, it’s useful to stretch as part of your cool down. This can be done at home or on a sunny day, take a portable yoga mat, like the extreme grip, foldable Yogi Bare Teddy Mat with you and set up under a shady tree or on a grassy knoll.
A few rounds of traditional sun salutations which involve downward dog, cobra and lunges feels great and sets you up in a positive frame of mind. Alternatively, you can create your own routine with gentle stretching poses like Mountain Pose, Tree Pose, Lotus Pose, Downward Dog, Cat-Cow, Seated and Standing Forward Fold, Happy Baby Pose and Child’s Pose.
Yoga and Walking Holidays UK
Fancy some time away? Why not book a yoga and walking holiday, the perfect complement for relieving muscle tension, boosting energy levels, improving stamina and endurance, stimulating circulation and calming and re-energising a busy mind? Check out Bookyogaretreats.com which showcases gorgeous locations like The Lake District, Norfolk and North Wales, detailing yoga retreats that offer walking, meditation and spa activities.
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