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
“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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Media, Films, & Documentaries
[Audio CD] Walking Meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn
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.
[Audio Course] Walking Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh
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."