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Lions Roar : July 2016
TODAY I TOOK A LONG WALK through the high desert woods of the Cerro Gordo Mountains. I’ve never taken this walk before, so I stepped cautiously around gnarly tree roots, keeping my attention bright in the hopes of avoiding a twisted ankle or stepping on the baby snakes sunning on the trail. Walking like a model, one foot in front of the other, I CYNDI LEE teaches yoga and meditation everywhere, including at her studio Yoga Goodness in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is cur- rently training as a Zen chaplain under Roshi Joan Halifax. crossed a narrow plank over the moun- tain creek and hopped onto a dusty path that eventually dumped me out on Can- yon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For the last nine days I’ve been on retreat at Upaya Zen Center, which backs up to this trail. There is a medita- tive quality of presence that informs all aspects of retreat, whether we are sitting, standing, washing dishes, or gardening, and I consciously tapped into that quality on my walk. Meditation is often called a “gather- ing together.” Mind and body aren’t really separate. Whether you are talking, writing, planning, or worrying, you are still in your body. And when you are bik- ing, sleeping, or walking the dog, your thoughts still come and go. I admit that my daily walks aren’t usually this mindful. In fact, I’ve noticed that I often don’t pay much attention at all to the experience of walking. I mostly pay attention to my phone, continually checking my fitness apptofindouthowcloseIamtomy goal of 10,000 steps a day. Traditional seated mindfulness meditation instructions are to notice when the mind has strayed and return ILLUSTRATIONSBYTOMIUM HOW TO PRACTICE Embodied Mindfulness You don’t just practice mindfulness with your mind. You practice it with your body too, indeed, with your whole being. Well-known yoga teacher and Buddhist CYNDI LEE teaches us how. LION’S ROAR | JULY 2016 31 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE