Peace is the walk.
All over the world people are practising social distancing in order to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, although we are physically more distant from each other, no hugs or handshakes, many of us are creatively finding ways to stay connected with each other through acts of kindness. In this post I'll share with you the practice of Compassionate Walking which is a wonderful way of extending love to yourself and others.
To begin the practice, start your walk by sending love and good wishes to yourself. This can be as simple as saying something like, "I hope you have a good day today". Use any phrases that help to build up the energy of loving kindness in you. Have compassion for yourself, recognising the difficulties you face at present as you adjust to the restrictions imposed by the virus.
Next, as you walk extend goodwill and loving kindness to both yourself and to passers-by. Do this one person at a time. Again, it might just be a simple phrase such as "I hope things go well for you and me today." Like you, this person is also struggling to adjust to this new world we find ourselves in. Like you they want to be healthy and happy. Send out your love to them. Recognise your shared humanity.
It can also be fun to send out love and compassion to trees, plants, dogs, cats, birds, the earth and the sky.
If you want to develop the practice of Compassionate Walking further you can incorporate the Loving Kindness Meditation phrases:
May I be safe.
The approach is the same as in the less formal version of the meditation already described. You begin the meditation by saying the phrases for yourself, engendering feelings of loving kindness towards yourself as you walk. Next, you choose individual passers-by and say the phrases for both of you:
May you and I be safe.
Christopher Germer, in his book, "The Mindful Path of Self-compassion", says that you can also simplify the phrases to: "Safe, happy, healthy, ease" or "love, love, love, love". Simply repeating these shortened phrases for yourself and others.
If you are quarantined at present and not able to leave the house to walk then see my earlier post: Relieve Stress with a Walking Meditation, which can easily be done at home. My next post will explore simple ways to incorporate the Loving Kindness Meditation phrases into a yoga session.
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Jilly Shipway, sharing seasonal yoga ideas and inspiration with you through the year...
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Disclaimer: if you have any concerns about your health or suitability to do yoga, please consult a medical professional before attempting any of the yoga routines in this blog.