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Lions Roar : May 2017
Find an unobstructed space where you can walk in a straight line for about 10 feet. This short walking distance is the instruc- tion given in the Theravada tradition. Others prefer to walk for greater distances. Coming into physical stillness, lift your head up, relax your shoulders, and lift your chest with dignity and pride. You can clasp your hands behind your back, hold them in front of your body, or let your arms hanging loosely to the side. Lifting your right leg, notice the weight redistribution in your body. Place your attention on what the left side of your body needs to do to hold your full weight—spreading the toes, engaging the core. Extend the right leg forward, placing the heel on the ground and rolling onto the ball of the foot. As your weight shifts forward, notice how the heel of your left foot begins to lift. Swing the left leg forward and repeat. Adding verbal cues is a great way to establish synchronization and rhythm within the body. As the mind begins to wander, use a simple verbal cue like “lifting, moving, placing” as a reminder to bring the mind back to the body. When you get to the end of your short walking path, come to a complete stop and take a breath. Turn a quarter of the way, maybe taking another breath, and then fully turn all the way around, facing where you just came from. Start over with find- ing your posture and establishing your balance, and begin to lift, move, and place the foot. At the beginning of this practice, you might notice that your steps are very calculated and robotic. See if you can begin to find more fluidity as you connect the breath with movement, perhaps letting go of the phrases and just allowing this to be a fully embodied practice. Start with about a 10-minute practice, slowly building up to 30–45 minutes. LESLIE BOOKER is on the faculty of the mindful yoga and meditation program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. PHOTOBYLIZAMATTHEWS LION’S ROAR | MAY 2017 59