soulMerlin’s Almanack

Oct 16

16/Oct/07 Spiritual Keep-Fit ~ Part three

Category: Spiritual Keep-Fit

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Don’t Run before you can Walk

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and are relatively unfit for your age, it is best to take things gradually at first. I consider physical health inseparable from spiritual health, but it is easy to overdo both in an initial surge of enthusiasm.If you have followed my first two instalments, you will hopefully be taking care of both your sleeping habits and also your eating patterns and intake. If you’re new to the site, I recommend looking at my previous Almanack entries before continuing, so go to the Spiritual Keep-Fit category on the Almanack side-bar to catch-up if it’s your first visit.

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Walking

Before taking up jogging (and buying all the gear etc!) it is best to spend at least a week, preferably a month just walking. Walking in itself is an evolved activity that we have progressed to in our development, both from childhood and also as a species as we have evolved from the animal ‘all fours’ posture. However if your lifestyle up to now has involved minimum walking, other than to get from ‘a” to ‘b’ - usually in a rush, or of necessity whilst shopping and being loaded down with bags - some careful correction to the way you walk should be undertaken before the activity of running is even considered.

Prepare for a walk by first choosing a location which will allow you to stride out naturally for around half and hour, without encountering any potholes or uneven surfaces. Avoid crowded places and any potential obstacles which will interrupt the rhythmic pace of walking you hope to achieve. It is best to steer away from shopping malls, busy pavements and routes where you will have to spend some time waiting at traffic lights, dodging cars and lorries etc. Choose a location where you will be able to walk at a steady pace whilst paying little or no attention to your surroundings.

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The Meditation of “Pace”

Once you have chosen your walking-location, prepare by having a light snack at least one hour before and by a moderate liquid intake (don’t swamp your system with water - you may dilute the essential electrolyte balance of your body’s metabolism)

Choose your clothing carefully so that it is ideal for your location, in the UK at present, we have some ideal Autumn walking weather.

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Shoes

Shoes are the most important consideration. I find ‘trainers’ too bulky and insulating for proper foot awareness. Trainers also do nothing to increase foot awareness and sensitivity; the legs and feet have natural shock-absorbing properties which are not helped by the over-cushioned soles and wrap-around padding on the modern trainer. In my opinion a simple inexpensive shoe is the best, with a sole thin enough for the walker to feel the ground a little and a general construction light and simple enough to allow the foot to flex and articulate whilst walking.

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Clothing

I try to avoid nylon. Nylon holds sweat and interrupts the natural release of body waste-matter into the atmosphere. It is much better although perhaps less fashionable, to ‘kit-out’ in natural fabrics; a cotton top and loose cotton trousers are much more favourable for the body. Nylon also allows an electrical static build-up which also is a negative factor in bodily well-being. Judge how much clothing will be needed for a purposeful walk - too little clothing and you may become chilled and tense - too much clothing and you may overheat.

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The Rate of Pulse

Walk casually to your ‘walking patch’ (I use the park at the bottom of my street) and then pause and check your pulse. Start walking at your rate of pulse and continue with loose easy strides for fifteen minutes. Allow your breathing to naturally flow; don’t over-breath or breath too high in your chest; think of your lungs as bellows. Breath in through your nose and out through both nose and mouth.

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Meditate

Meditate on the rhythm of your walking and of your breath. Become aware of the ground; each step should travel easily from your heel to your toes - feet parallel or very slightly turned out - your body weight should fall along and slightly to the outside of your feet. Become aware of evenness or otherwise in your body carriage. Do you walk with a stress on your right foot or your left? Most people have a main propulsion or driving foot - try to even out the take-off between both feet.

After fifteen minutes, start to consider your whole body carriage. Are your shoulders tense? - lower them. Is your lower back curved (lordosis) or your upper back curved (scoliosis?) Try to gain an easy posture. Pull up from the back of your neck and keep your chin slightly down.

Continue walking in a natural way for the remainder of your first half-hour session - concentrate on the feel of your body and enjoy it’s natural sensation.

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When you return home, shower and lie naked on your bed with the room cool but not cold.

Let your mind be still….

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’till the next time

soulMerlin

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