There is a reason that walking–any repetitive movement, really–does wonders to shift one’s mood: When energy becomes stagnant in the body, our temperament also becomes stuck wherever the affected meridian has become blocked. For example, if you have been stewing about a situation and finding no resolution, anxiety or crankiness may set in, leaving you with a nagging headache or shortened breath. Or if existential angst sends you into a bout of depression, multiple energy channels may be affected; random aches or stiffness may result. In order to break free of whatever mood has trapped your mind and body, familiar physical movement that pushes energy through the blockages may be the way to go.
I have written in previous posts about the benefits of shaking and tapping to stimulate the flow of energy in the body. Certainly this would be a wonderful opening or close to your walking session; however, if you can barely muster the will to step a foot forward, vigorous shaking likely is out of reach for now. Honor your current state, and start where you can start.
On this Silent Sunday, “walking” does not mean you have to head out for an hour-long hike or any kind of “workout.” Rather, the idea is to put one foot in front of the other, over and over again, as you contemplate your feelings. To do this, you will create a version of a mandala that will be your “trail” to follow, over and over again, until you feel compelled to step out of the designated path: When this happens, let your physical and spiritual intuitions guide you onward.
Your pathway may be inside: back and forth between two or more rooms; up and down a hallway or stairs; a figure eight, both directions, in one room only; even the pattern on your floor or rugs can serve as the layout for your rhythmic walk. If you do choose to be outside, the fresh air will buoy your efforts: Again, you do not have to wander further than your yard–in and around plantings or walkways; or perhaps you prefer to walk up and down the drive or around the perimeter of the lot.
Regardless of your initial path, begin to walk at whatever pace is desirable at the outset: Move along, repeating the route you have created, over and over; this “auto pilot” movement frees your mind to ruminate on whatever has been possessing your thoughts and feelings. As you tread the path, any one or all of the following hand and arm movements will enhance your mind and body’s ability to break free of constraints.
Each of the “moving mudras” begins to affect the magnetic field, or aura, that surrounds you. By stimulating the outer “shield,” the energetic alteration affects our inner energies, which aids the breakdown of stagnancy. The first suggestion: With your arms naturally hanging by your sides as you walk, begin to “stir” both arms simultaneously backward in small circles–no more than a diameter of 3 or 4 inches. Move the circles as quickly or slowly as feels right to you, and continue for as long as you like.
Another option is to make fists with your thumb resting inside at the webbing between the first and second fingers: Inhale for four steps, then release and spread the fingers wide as you exhale, again for four steps. (The 4-count is a suggestion; however, feel free to breathe with a count suited best to your pace and stride.) Repeat, this time with the thumb snuggled between the second and third finger: Fist for your preferred step-count with your inhale; spread, releasing the thumb, as you exhale for the same number of steps. Finally, create the fist with the thumb inside, resting between the base of the ring and pinky fingers. Inhale four steps with the fist; exhale four steps as you stretch the palms and fingers wide open. Continue the pattern for as long as like: The mudra activity aligns your inner energies with the external auric field.
After you have been walking for a bit, you may feel ready and able to open your body further. Move both arms fully through the sagittal and frontal planes around you: Inhale as you raise your arms up to the sides and overhead; exhale as they come back down. You can repeat this as often as you like before you move to the front movement, or alternate them back and forth. To move through the front space, inhale both arms out and up in front of you; exhale down. Eventually, if your clothing permits, you can move your arms in full circles, up and back, and then forward and down. Play with the patterning, or move organically with no thought of design: Free-flow movement is an excellent technique to break free of stuck thoughts or physical energies.
As you begin to unravel the tangled knot of emotion, other feelings and thoughts likely will emerge: Some may exacerbate the “problem,” seeming to create a new or deeper pit; focus instead on the change–something has shifted to allow a new sense of things, even if it is not necessarily positive at this point. Know that the walking has jostled something; keep moving, and allow the process to continue.
If and when you feel as if you would like to change your route, go ahead and do that. The idea is to stay aware of what your body and mind need, in order to move through and past your stuck state. And if your walk never feels the need to adjust its path, that is helpful information, too: You may be closer to resolving or ameliorating your situation than you thought. Whatever happens during your physical and emotional journey is exactly what needs to happen: Your walk and intention have provided the means to usher in fresh energy and perspective.
When you recognize that you no longer need to walk, find a place–inside or out–to sit. With your hands resting simply on your thighs or knees, palms down, close your eyes to gaze at the Third Eye; breathe consciously, deeply, and fully. Sense the circulation of stimulated energy, and the feeling of the air on your skin. Reserve a moment to recognize how you have cared for and soothed yourself; perhaps also thank whatever force or energy you honor most for its abiding guidance and protection. Continue to breathe normally for as long is it feels right, and then move into the rest of your day with sure feet underneath, and a steady heart within.