Sometime during the first year and a half of life, most of us pulled ourselves up on unsteady legs and took our first steps. During those tentative first steps, our minds were truly mindful of the position of our feet, the feel of the floor and the movement of our body. Concentration on walking and only walking happened with a clear deliberate mind. Later, as we became more proficient in walking, the act of walking became natural. There now is no thought to what we are doing. We want to get from point A to point B; we just walk.
Mindful walking is not about a destination; it is simply about each step and breathing. Being mindful in the moment!
It seems right that we would practise Mindful Walking, particularly with children. This strategy is useful when your class has become restless due to concentration levels, when they have been inside for a while or because the sun is shining!
Basic Mindful Walking for Children
(This should happen in a space large enough to accommodate your class. So, at the least a hall/gym. However, walking outside, particularly where there is nature around, can be the most rewarding.)
1- Have the children stand and take several belly breathes; allowing their bodies to relax from their head to their toes.
2- They are to soften their eyes and fix their gaze on the ground about 8 feet ahead.
3- Tell the children to smile slightly. Smiling signals the brain that what is happening is pleasant.
4- As they walk, have the children focus on the step of each foot as it rises up and then comes back down to the ground.
5- Periodically, have the children stop and notice one object (flower, stone, stick, leaf, etc) or sound (bird chirping, water trickling, car passing, etc) and spend a few moments appreciating that one moment.
To give it added purpose, consider attaching it to a topic of study. Take a few minutes on a class trip to do a mindful walk or consider your local community areas for a moment to practice their mindful walking skills.
What have you tried on your mindful walks? Please share in the comments below.