Day 16: Exercise: Walking

Walking; Mindful Walking; An Essay on Walking and Sauntering by Henry David Thoreau; Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman

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“No one in our society needs to be told that exercise is good for us. Whether you are overweight or have a chronic illness or are a slim couch potato, you’ve probably heard or read this dictum countless times throughout your life. But has anyone told you – indeed, guaranteed you – that regular physical activity will make you happier? I swear by it.” – Sonja Lyubomirsky

Welcome to Day 16!

IN 1999, I (David) BACKPACKED 2,200 MILES on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. People ask me, “How could you walk so far?” One day at a time, one mile at a time. No one walks the whole trail… everyone walks one mile at a time.

And that is the way you are going to do this Juice Feast. No one Juice Feasts for 30 Days or 92 Days: Everyone Juice Feasts for 1 Day!

During those 7 months on the Appalachian Trail, I learned a great deal about walking – about shoes, socks, how to adjust my stride and pace in various conditions, and most importantly, how to truly enjoy being outside in any weather and enjoy the ability to walk, and in maximizing the quality of walking. For more on this type of adventuring, see my file on Day 56, Raw Food and Ultra-Lightweight Backpacking. You will learn about the beautiful synergy between lightweight backpacking, nutrient dense raw foods, and walking through the woods as a daily event.

Walking Meditation

One of my favorite persons on the subject of walking is Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. In his lovely book, Peace is Every Step, he writes:

Walking meditation can be very enjoyable. We walk slowly, alone or with friends, if possible in some beautiful place. Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking—walking not in order to arrive, but just to walk. The purpose is to be in the present moment and, aware of our breathing and our walking, to enjoy each step. Therefore we have to shake off all worries and anxieties, not thinking of the future, not thinking of the past, just enjoying the present moment. We can take the hand of a child as we do it. When we walk, we make steps as if we are the happiest person on Earth.

Although we walk all the time, our walking is usually more like running. When we walk like that, we print anxiety and sorrow on the Earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. We can all do this, provided that we want it very much. Any child can do it. If we can take one step like this, we can take two, three, four, and five. When we are able to take one step peacefully and happily, we are working for the cause of peace and happiness for the whole of humankind. Walking meditation is a wonderful practice.

When we do walking meditation outside, we walk a little slower than our normal pace, and we coordinate our breathing with our steps. For example, we may take three steps with each in-breath and three steps with each out-breath. So we can say, “In, in, in. Out, out, out.” “In” is to help us to identify the in-breath. Every time we call something by its name, we make it more real, like saying the name of a friend.

If your lungs want four steps instead of three, please give them four steps. If they want only two steps, give them two. The lengths of your in-breath and out-breath do not have to be the same. For example, you can take three steps with each inhalation and four with each exhalation. If you feel happy, peaceful, and joyful while you are walking, you are practicing correctly.

Be aware of the contact between your feet and the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. We have caused a lot of damage to the Earth. Now it is time for us to take good care of her. We bring our peace and calm to the surface of the Earth and share the lesson of love. We walk in that spirit. From time to time, when we see something beautiful, we may want to stop and look at it—a tree, a flower, some children playing.

As we look, we continue to follow our breathing, lest we lose the beautiful flower and get caught up in our thoughts. When we want to resume walking, we just start again. Each step we take will create a cool breeze, refreshing our body and mind. Every step makes a flower bloom under our feet. We can do it only if we do not think of the future or the past, if we know that life can only be found in the present moment.

Walking

The Walking download for you today has many suggested places in Houston (where I began teaching) for you to go walking–but there are many more pleasant parks and neighborhoods available to you than I could ever list. Think today about the quality of your steps–are you walking on hot charcoal, or flowers? Already you are noticing beneficial changes to yourself because of your efforts in juice fasting–each day you are becoming more evidently the beautiful person that has been there all along. The way you walk can now reflect your beauty and vitality. Henry David Thoreau has some experience in this, so I have included his excellent essay.

Walking by Henry David Thoreau

“Walking” began as a lecture called “The Wild,” delivered by Henry at the Concord Lyceum on April 23, 1851. He gave this lecture many times, developing it into the essay finally published in the Atlantic Monthly after his death, in 1862.

“I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks–who had a genius, so to speak, for SAUNTERING, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which, indeed, is the most probable derivation.”

Detoxify with Exercise: Dr. Brian Clement

“A good way to keep your body free of congestion is by vigorous daily exercise. Unless you are active, your body deteriorates very quickly. The fact that your body contains more than 700 muscles is an undeniable indication of the fact that your body is created to be active. Many people habitually fall into the trap of inactivity, thereby experiencing the catch-22 vicious cycle, whereby one avoids exercise because he is grossly out of shape, while the reason that one is out of shape is that he does no exercise!

You must be determined and motivated to exercise daily, thereby eradicating the restrictions — physical, mental and emotional, that result from inactivity. Sluggishness of body, thought and feeling is manifested as a pervasive internal stagnation that constrains most of the organs to function at only a percentage of their capacity, which inevitably results in a toxic accumulation. An improper diet and lack of exercise constitute a potentially-literally-deadly combination.

When you exercise vigorously, you are giving your body a thorough house cleaning. Among the important functions of your bloodstream, three are particularly-health-promoting and very much benefited by exercise.

The bloodstream carries nutrients that are extracted from the food that you eat to every cell in your body. Exercise facilitates the journey of these nutrients to their destination while, at the same time, generating enormous amounts of oxygen in the bloodstream. The intensely-oxygenated blood helps the nutrients that constitute our fuel to be burned more completely when they reach the cell. It might be more-than-figuratively said that exercise helps to feed our cells.

The bloodstream is also the corporeal sanitation-department, eliminating the residue that remains after the food/fuel has been burned. Every microscopic cell is akin to a tiny oven in which low-level combustion occurs. And, since the body must eliminate large amounts of residue and toxic waste daily, only an unimpeded bloodstream that is powered by vigorous exercise can do the job thoroughly.

An unimpeded bloodstream obviously keeps the veins and arteries open, because it inhibits the accumulation of cholesterol on the inside walls of these channels. Exercise helps to maintain our internal cleanliness and, when arteries and veins are clear of obstructions, blood-pressure is normal. Exercise strengthens the heart, and a strong heart works at a slower but more efficient pace. The more one learns how the body functions, the more one can understand the importance of exercise.”

Enjoy the inspiration today, walk, and be free!


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Day 16: Introduction with David and Katrina Rainoshek

Theme Music: “Country Road” by James Taylor

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh

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Rodney Yee on Walking Yoga

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Video: The recently published biography Walking Man: The Secret Life of Colin Fletcher by Dr. Robert Wehrman.

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Today’s Downloads

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Walking

by David Rainoshek, M.A.

A 16,000-person study of twins at the University of Helsinki found that taking brisk, half-hour walks just six times a month cut the risk of early death by 44%. Even those who exercised occasionally—less than six times a month—were 30% less likely to die early than their sedentary twin. And not only will you live longer – but far happier!!!


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“walking” by henry david thoreau

In the streets and in society I am almost invariably cheap and dissipated, my life is unspeakably mean… But alone in the distant woods or fields, in unpretending sprout-lands or pastures tracked by rabbits, even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day, like this, when a villager would be thinking of his inn, I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related, and that cold and solitude are friends of mine. I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing and prayer. I come home to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home. I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are, grand and beautiful. I have told many that I walk every day about half the daylight, but I think they do not believe it. I wish to get the Concord, the Massachusetts, the America, out of my head and be sane a part of every day. – H.D. Thoreau


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“song of the open road”

by Walt Whitman (from Leaves of Grass)

Perhaps one of the greatest poems in all of literature. Walt Whitman is one of my favorite – if not my very favorite – poets. Prepare to be inspired beyond measure by this perennial work of art.


Online Articles

Research shows that walking can protect your memory down the road by S.L. Baker

One of the greatest fears associated with growing older is the thought of memory problems — including the mind-robbing nightmare of Alzheimer’s Disease. But there appears to be a natural way to help protect yourself from dementia that involves nothing more complicated that putting on your walking shoes and sticking to a walking program. New research just published in the October 13, 2010, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, strongly indicates that walking just six miles per week may protect aging brains from growing smaller and, in turn, preserve memory in old age.

Women can dramatically slash their risk of strokes through regular walking by S.L. Baker

A large, long-term study just reported in the American Heart Association journal Stroke has great news for women. Once again, a non-drug approach to avoiding one of the country’s top killers has been shown to be a powerful “prescription”. Harvard researchers found that women can dramatically slash their risk for both clot-caused (ischemic) strokes as well as bleeding (hemorrhagic) strokes by simply walking regularly.

Lack of exercise kills roughly as many as smoking, study says by Emily Rupert, Los Angeles Times

The results are fatal. Lack of exercise is tied to worldwide killers such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. If just a quarter of inactive adults got enough exercise, more than 1.3 million deaths could be prevented worldwide annually, researchers said. Half an hour of brisk walking five times a week would do the trick.


Great Books

By Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the few books focused completely on mindful walking and walking meditation. This revised edition of the best-selling title (nearly 80,000 copies sold to date) includes over 30 percent new material—including new walking meditation poems and practices—and provides a practical and inspirational introduction to this important practice. Written in Thich Nhat Hanh’s clear and accessible style, Long Road Turns To Joy reminds us that we “walk not in order to arrive, but walk just for walking.” Touching the earth with our feet is an opportunity to live in the here and now. Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us to enjoy each step and each breath in order to regain peace in difficult moments. The simple practice of walking with attention and mindfulness can bring the spirit of prayer into our everyday life. This book will appeal to anyone who would like to get more out of walking, from long-time meditators to those who are just looking for a way to make their walk around the block more meaningful.


By Mark Fenton

This comprehensive, approachable guide to all things walking is conversational in tone and gives a wealth of information about walking without being dry. The focus here is on fitness and health, not weight loss per se, which is refreshing. My favorite quote from the book is: “In an ideal world… our greatest concern about our bodies would simply be wringing the most life out of them. We’d want the longest, healthiest, most energetic, active adventurous lives our bodies could offer.”


By Jon Kabat-Zinn

When Wherever You Go, There You Are was first published in 1994, no one could have predicted that the book would launch itself onto bestseller lists nationwide and sell over 750,000 copies to date. Ten years later, the book continues to change lives. In honor of the book’s 10th anniversary, Hyperion is proud to be releasing the book with a new afterword by the author, and to share this wonderful book with an even larger audience.


By Peace Pilgrim

David Rainoshek, M.A.: This is the book that finally led to my decision to walk the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 1999. Peace Pilgrim walked over 25,000 miles for peace, and is a very important person in U.S. and world history that most people don’t know anything about!

Peace Pilgrim walked and spoke continuously across America from 1953 until her death in 1981. “Walking until given shelter and fasting until given food,” she carried a simple yet powerfully enduring message of peace. A few of her friends later gathered her writings and talks into this first-person account of her experiences and beliefs. Peace Pilgrim has become a spiritual classic, with over half a million copies in print in nine languages. Includes news clippings, questions and answers, photographs, index.


Edited by Edwin Way Teale

David Rainoshek, M.A.: The wilderness and adventure writings of ecologist and contemplative John Muir have been some of the most delicious writings on the natural world I have ever encountered. Muir poetically describes an intimate relationship with nature that we all instinctively crave (Edward O. Wilson calls this drive Biophilia, or the desire to be in touch with all things natural). This book is part of our library, and a very, very good selection of the great John Muir.


by Colin Fletcher

Colin Fletcher is a self-described "compulsive walker." It is not unusual for him to pick up a map, drive to an area that intrigues him, and then start walking. It should come as no surprise then that a detour from U.S. 66 to visit the Grand Canyon on a June morning in 1963 inspired Fletcher to walk the length of the Canyon below the rim. In The Man Who Walked Through Time Fletcher recounts his amazing journey. For two months Fletcher struggled against heat and cold, lack of water and dwindling supplies. The terrain was, at times, nearly impassible, yet despite the physical hardships, Fletcher came away from his experience with a new awareness of how humans fit into the vast scheme of things. He writes, for example, of meeting a rattlesnake on Beaver Sand Bar: "Now I am no rattlesnake aficionado. The first rattler I met scared me purple, and killing it seemed a human duty.... Yet by the end of that California summer I no longer felt an unreasoning fear of rattlers.... Instead, I accepted them as organisms with a niche in the web of life. Accepted them, that is, as fellow creatures."

The Man Who Walked Through Time is a remarkable account of a journey both physical and spiritual. It is also a record of the Grand Canyon as it was before the massive influx of tourism. Fletcher's descriptions of the spectacular geography, the wildlife, and the remnants of much older cultures serve to remind us that the Grand Canyon has been around longer than humankind and may well outlast us.


Media, Films, & Documentaries

[Audio CD] Walking Meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Excerpt on Walking Meditation above… This whole series is incredible – and accessible to anyone whether they know about meditation or not. In this excerpt, Kabat-Zinn illustrates the easily accessible practice of Walking Meditation in everyday life.

By the way – the book which this audio series is based on was one of the most important books I have ever encountered – a seminal work in my own evolutionary growth and development, and one which I recommend to many, many students during a Juice Feast. – David Rainoshek, M.A.


What if every step you took deepened your connection with all of life and imprinted peace, joy, and serenity on the earth? With Walking Meditation, listeners enjoy the first comprehensive instructional program in this serene spiritual practice to help them walk with presence and peace of mind whether in nature or on a busy city street.

Presented in a unique format that combines a book with a DVD and audio CD, Walking Meditation features esteemed Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh along with one of his principle students, Anh-Huong Nguyen, as they together illuminate the central tenets of this powerful art, including: How to recognize the miracle in simply walking, not as a means to an end, but as the opportunity to touch the fullness of life. Reversing habit energy through the unification of body and mind. Using walking meditation to work with difficult emotions such as anger and anxiety, and much more.


Walking: The Ultimate Exercise for Optimum Health with Andrew Weil, M.D. and Mark Fenton

Most of us enjoy walking, but not everyone knows how to turn this simple exercise into one of the most powerful self-healing tools known to medicine. On Walking: The Ultimate Exercise for Optimum Health, Dr. Andrew Weil joins Mark Fenton, the nation's foremost expert on walking, for an invigorating 2-CD program that gives you all the tools needed to begin a daily walking practice. On Part One, Dr. Weil and Mark Fenton explain the proven ways in which walking helps you look and feel younger, reduce stress, improve immune function, achieve your ideal weight, and more. On Part Two, you get walking with a fully programmable workout that features two warm-up options and five intensifying sessions, paced by cadence cues and motivating tips for each phase.

There are dozens of resources on walking for better health but none with the ultimate walking coach alongside America's most trusted complementary health-care physician. Whether you're a seasoned walking enthusiast looking for an edge or taking your first steps toward a healthier tomorrow, with Walking, anyone can put their best foot forward to make the most of this enjoyable and life-changing exercise.


Peace Pilgrim Speaking to a College Class

This hour long video was recorded in 1979 in Los Angeles.

Peace Pilgrim is speaking to a college class about her pilgrimage, stages of spiritual growth, and steps to creating inner and outer peace in our lives. She also answers some questions.

Her pilgrimage spanned almost three decades beginning January 1, 1953, in Pasadena, California. The Korean War was in progress. She continued walking for 28 years, spanning the American involvement in the Vietnam War and beyond. Peace Pilgrim was a frequent speaker at churches, universities, and local and national radio and television.

Expressing her ideas about peace, she referred to herself only as "Peace Pilgrim." Peace Pilgrim's only possessions were the clothes on her back and the few items she carried in the pockets of her blue tunic which read "Peace Pilgrim" on the front and "25,000 miles on foot for peace" on the back. She had no organizational backing, carried no money, and would not even ask for food or shelter. When she began her pilgrimage she had taken a vow to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food."


I Am Active

Yoga Camp - Day 16! Camp begins today and we are taking a day to tap into the joy of yoga in preparation for the next two weeks. This stretchy yoga sequence is short and sweet. Stretch the muscles you toned and strengthened yesterday. I ENJOY.