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Yoga Bites: Yoga walking: A simple path to better health

Yoga Bites appears every four weeks.

Did you know that the best form of yoga is walking? By applying yogic breathing and meditation techniques to simple walking, one can practice “yoga walking,” which delivers even more benefits with each and every step.

When we incorporate yoga principles into walking, it becomes not only good for the physical body, but good for the soul.

The health of our powerful legs, which include the biggest and strongest muscles in the body, is very important to our circulation, digestion, bones, inner state, fitness, coordination, blood pressure, and much more. As we draw energy up from the earth into the body, our legs are our roots and our mobility.

Yoga means union and the practice aims to unite ourselves with our innermost selves and the universe at large. Staying present with the breath in yoga on a mat or yoga on a walk offers us access to a deep inner reservoir of calm, balance and strength. Yoga happens whenever we feel fully present in the here and now.

Yoga walking can be done practically anywhere, anytime, by anyone. It’s safe, convenient, economic and enjoyable. Health experts across the board agree that walking is the perfect exercise. Our bodies are built for movement, especially for walking specifically. If you could bundle the effects of a regular yoga walking practice into a pill, you’d have a miracle drug on your hands. Research shows that walking four miles burns more fat than running the same distance in less time.

To go on a mind-expanding walk, begin walking and feel into the right pace and rhythm for your body today. Just like Goldilocks, not too fast and not too slow. Walk at a pace that feels invigorating. Gently pump the arms naturally with each stride to integrate the whole body into the movement, powerfully and fluidly. Breathe in and out through your nose as much as you can during the walk. Let your breath be full, long and rhythmic. Breathing through the nose strengthens the lungs, filters the air, increases energy, and stimulates the production of endorphins (feel-good hormones).

Focus fully on the present moment. Easier said than done, I know. One simple and effective way to achieve this is to use your senses. Begin to notice the sky, the trees, the ocean, the cars, the people. Tune in to the birds, the wind, the rhythm of your feet and breath. Feel your feet meet the earth, the air moving in and out of your lungs, the sun warming your face, the air moving through your fingers, your hair. Absorb the energizing negative ions from the trees and ocean air.

Enjoy this gentle practice that generates total health and keeps us connected to our bodies and souls as often as you can, ideally for at least 20 minutes four times per week. You’ll feel like you meditated rather than exercised, with the added bennies. Incorporate yoga walking into your daily life; park a little farther away from where you’re going, take the stairs, walk to the park for lunch, walk after dinner, walk with a friend (two-legged or four-legged). Look for opportunities to create your yoga anywhere and everywhere.

Sarah Hundley, a certified yoga instructor and massage therapist, owns Shambala Studio in Crescent City. Email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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