Weight Loss and The Zen Of Walking

Walking puts you on the path to permanent weight loss. Walking is an exercise for the mind, body and soul. The benefits of walking are many: walking helps you to lose weight, burns fat and calories, builds muscle, and strengthens your heart and body. It also clears your mind, boosts your mood and metabolism, and centers and grounds you firmly on the earth.

Walking is easy to do, requires no special equipment, and doesn’t cost anything extra, except for a good pair of walking shoes. It’s also a great way to begin moving and exercising after a period of being sedentary. It’s easy on the joints and it’s pretty hard to injure oneself doing it. It’s also a wonderful way to explore your environment without burning precious fuels. It’s the original green exercise!

Walking can be done alone or it can be a great way to build friendships and camaraderie with others. To speed up weight loss and fitness, it can be made more challenging by adding weights and varying speeds, and walking terrains. Because of this, walking is an exercise that can be done on a regular basis, and a person will not grow tired of it.

A recent study showed that just 10 minutes of regular walking a day helped significantly reduce bothersome belly fat. Belly fat is directly linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and early death. Who doesn’t have a spare 10 minutes to enjoy those benefits? Walk even more and lose more weight. It’s a pretty painless path to weight loss nirvana.

It is no accident that many major spiritual traditions use walking as a contemplative practice and meditation. Walking is a restorative practice that can help you to live mindfully in the moment and gracefully accept the rhythms and movement of life. Walking helps you to fully inhabit the body and the world that you live in.

Walking is a very important part of my daily spiritual practice. I credit my daily walking for awakening my love of nature and opening me to her healing powers. Walking reveals many truths about life. My daily walks have shown me that I am part of the divine perfection of this world, and that change is happening every moment and to trust and embrace it, to move effortlessly with the flow of life.

In nature, I am able to enter the stillness easily and be filled with joy, peace and love. Nature soothes and nurtures me. In her presence I feel reverence, awe and rapture. Her beauty feeds my soul. I feel safe in her warm, all encompassing embrace.

I take my camera out with me on my daily walks. Photography has been a very useful adjunct to my mindfulness practice. By shooting pictures of my daily environment, I am able to see the constant changes in the environment around me. The act of focusing on my surroundings centers me in the moment instead of walking mindlessly, lost in thought, not really noticing anything.

For three years, I walked every day in the neighborhood where I lived, documenting my surroundings with my digital camera. I took pictures of all the trees, plants, flowers, and animals I encountered on my daily walks. I began to sense each of the plants and trees as a living being. I could feel their energy. I began to think of the trees and plants in my circle as a council of wise beings who had much to teach me about life.

I also got to meet my neighbors and their pets. This gave me a sense of community that was missing in my life. I had lived around these people for years and never even talked to them! I began to see them as fellow travelers on the journey. We were all taking part in the grand rhythm and walk of life, supported by Mother Nature herself!

In this time, I was able to photograph each change of season and I began to appreciate each season’s special type of beauty. After awhile, I began to realize that the changes that were happening outside of me, were happening inside of me as well.

Winter is a time of dormancy and gestation, and incubating new ideas. Spring is a time of rebirth and celebration and bringing forth new ideas. Summer is a time of action and doing. Fall is a time of harvest, of reaping what one has sown all year, a time of giving thanks and turning within, in preparation for the darkness of winter.

I was not separate from nature, but belonged to her. She had so much to teach me about being, trusting in the process of life, and allowing change. I am so grateful for her soothing guidance and support. When I need to feel centered, her gracious presence is within reach, a short walk away, waiting for me with open arms.

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