The heat of summer has been replaced with that refreshing, chilly bite in the air once more. Autumn is finally here! We are so excited to start enjoying all the magic this season brings,
including taking leisurely strolls and more ambitious hikes among the spectacular red rock formations that help make Sedona, Arizona such a popular destination.
Did you know that with a little practice, you can meditate nearly anytime, anywhere? It’s a common misconception for new practitioners to believe they have to be seated cross-legged on the floor in a silent space in order to be meditating “properly”. In fact, you can meditate nearly any time, including when you are walking.
Begin Your Walking Meditation: A Short Guide
Autumn is the perfect time of year for a meditation in Sedona, as the temperature is neither overly hot nor cold. However, you can learn to enjoy a walking meditation any time of year, and anywhere—even if it’s just around your neighborhood.
There there is no “wrong” way to begin your walk. However, there are several things you can do to help make the most of the experience:
1. Walk slowly—this isn’t a race. Feel the ground supporting your body; feel all parts of your feet and the rest of your lower body. Keep your weight more in the ball of your foot than in your heel. Press down into the earth with your ball, then push fully through until your toes extend.
2. Breathe mindfully. One common technique is to inhale slowly, hold the breath for a very brief moment, and then exhale as slowly as you inhaled. This allows you to experience and be mindful of that tiny gap of stillness that exists between your breaths. Note: if you are not used to walking in nature or if your health makes walking more challenging in general, ensure that you are not forcing yourself to breathe so deeply or unnaturally that it makes walking too difficult! The goal is to be mindful of your breathing, not to tire yourself out immediately.
3. Observe the physical mechanics of each step you take. Walking is such an everyday occurrence that most of us are on mental autopilot when it comes to the complex mechanics involved. As you mindfully walk, feel how one leg supports all of your weight as the other is raised to start a new step. Feel your hips rotate; feel your knees bend. Feel your feet flex and stretch as weight is put upon them, then removed, over and over. What areas of your feet do you tend to focus your weight on? Feel how your core responds to each step. What are your arms doing? How is your back feeling? Do you notice anything else?
4. Stop and reflect. After you’ve walked a very short distance, perhaps just a few steps, stop in place, breathe, and feel your body. What is it telling you? Continue to stop and reflect every few feet or so. Don’t worry about any other hikers if you are on a popular path; stay closest to the far right edge of the trail, and they will pass you if need be.
5. Keep a clear, empty mind. If outside thoughts begin to form, acknowledge them, then let them go and return your attention to your body. It’s normal for you to have some thoughts pop up here and there, but do your best to not let them distract and derail your efforts as you walk.
Where to Hike: Sedona’s Famous Red Rocks
If you are fortunate enough to be in or near Sedona, you have a nearly endless number of choices where you can begin your red rock walking meditation. Although this list is far from comprehensive, four of the most popular hiking areas include:
· Cathedral Rock
· Bell Rock
· Boynton Canyon
· Airport Mesa
Each of these sites has stunning and unique red rock formations, as well as dedicated, well-maintained walking paths, making them fairly simple to access by foot. They also include something extra special: each is home to a powerful energy vortex.
What’s a Vortex?
Energy vortexes are found at ley line intersections. In other words, when you visit a vortex in Sedona, you are standing right on top of or closely near where natural electromagnetic lines or paths of energy criss cross one another. This produces an intensely concentrated amount of energy at the intersection that most people can definitely feel or sense in some way.
Just as there are many different types of energy in the world, each vortex is unique in how it may affect you. Some may be uplifting and invigorating, while others may help foster peace and tranquility. Vortexes affect different people in different ways, so if you travel with a hiking buddy or in a group, you may all experience different sensations and feelings from one another.
Walking for Longevity
“Longevity Walking” is a concept that Ilchi Lee discusses in his newest book, “I've Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation”. Here is an excerpt:
“Altering one thing—the way you walk—can bring great changes. Most of us walk without thinking of anything in particular. We’re not really interested in our gait. No one criticizes us for walking our own way, whatever is comfortable. We don’t learn much about walking in school, and we don’t worry about the soles of our feet. But our quality of life changes depending on how we take these steps. Instead of just walking because you have to walk, tell yourself, “I’ll exercise as I walk,” then walking becomes a means of promoting health for a long life, a means of creating happiness.”
To learn more about longevity walking, please click here.