The Quiet Garden is a perfect place to start your mindfulness walk: To Pause and Reconnect; Relax, Reset and Refocus.
Have a look around, notice how peaceful it is, perhaps the birds that are visiting, the clouds that may be passing over. Give yourself time and space to slow down.
Now take some time to consider your breathing: using the Square (or Box) Breathing Technique is a perfect way: Begin by slowly exhaling all your air out, then ‘Square Breathe’.
The exhalation is the most important – it takes the toxins out to allow the oxygen in. and slowing your breathing down has a direct effect on slowing your brain down, so helping you to relax.
When you’re ready, take a few steps around the Quiet Garden. Be aware of how you place your feet: heel first, roll the foot until your toes touch the ground. Be aware of how the ground feels under your foot. Raise the other leg and gently place in front of the other, again, rolling the food until the toes touch down. All the while slowing your breathing down.
Continue to walk around the Quiet Garden with measured, relaxed steps and breathing, until you feel you want to extend it further around the park – if at all you do?
- As you begin your walk, walk at a natural pace. Place your hands wherever comfortable: on your stomach, behind your back, or at your sides.
- Don’t think about your destination – it’s the journey that counts.
- If you find it useful, count steps up to ten, and then start back at one again. If you’re staying in the Quiet Garden, as you reach ten, pause, and turn around.
- With each step, pay attention to the lifting and falling of your foot. Place your heel down and then slowly lower until your toes touch the floor; inhale to lift your foot, step, and exhale. Notice movement in your legs and the rest of your body. Notice any shifting of your body from side to side.
- Whatever else captures your attention, come back to the sensation of walking. Your mind will wander, so don’t get frustrated, guide it back again as many times as you need.
- Maintain a larger sense of the environment around you, observe nature. Taking it all in, staying safe and still aware.
Now for a few minutes, pay attention to sounds. Try and recognise five different sounds as you place your feet – heel to toe – deliberately and carefully.
Shift your awareness to your sense of smell. Can you identify four different scents? Then your sense of touch, finding three different things to touch. Trees have an amazing feel to the different barks – and trees give us life, they are a major source of oxygen.
Next, move to vision: colours and objects and whatever else you see. Patiently coming back each time something takes your attention away. Staying natural, not daydreaming and drifting.
Maintaining awareness, identify three different things you can see before coming back to your breathing and your footfall on the ground.
Keep this open awareness of everything around you. Wherever you are, nothing to do, nothing to fix, nothing to change. Fully aware, and walking.
In the last moments: come back to your awareness of the physical sensations of walking, wherever else your mind found itself throughout the walking. Notice your feet again touching the ground. Notice again the movements in your body with each step.
When you’re ready to end your walking meditation, stand still for a moment again. Pausing, choose a specific moment to end your Mindfulness Walk.
As you finish, think about how you feel. Do you feel any different to when you first set out on your Mindfulness Walk? Were you able to clear your mind and focus on the here and now?
If you finished back at the Quiet Garden, take some more time to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Click here to download the Mindfulness Walking leaflet
Mindfulness Walks in the park
Remain in the Quiet Garden
Extend to around the Golf Course
From the Golf Course to around the lake area
Extend to the entire perimeter of the park: 2.5km