5 Thoughts on Walking


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Walking. Photo Credit: iStockphoto/Beth Jeppson

A regular human being, born normal and sans accident, just walks. We take the ability to walk for granted until that ability is taken away. This is a celebration of that ability.

  • Man is made for walking.

We walk to get from one place to another. We start learning to walk before the first year of life. We learn how to balance on our feet. We are bipedal creatures. Why did we not remain crawling on all four limbs? What urges us to stand up and walk? Is it instinct? Convenience? Cultural/societal demands?

  • The way we walk belies the kind of person we are.

Did you ever notice how one person walks into a room or the mats and right from the start, owns it? Or do you notice someone who walks furtively gets you into an alert mode? Or someone walks into a room, and the room feels lighter? Or heavier?

This is why actors take up acting classes and have walking / bearing and projection exercises. Our walk reflects our bearing, our attitude towards life and our intentions.

We use it in language, too. “Walk a mile in his shoes”, “take a walk on the wild side”, “walk the walk and talk the talk”, “walk tall and walk proud”, crabby walk and all sorts of walks. It permeates our daily activities so pervasively and so often that, we walk while texting, walk while talking, walk while eating, walk while working, and some of us even sleep walk! From walking springs all other actions like striding, running, shuffling, jumping and, dare I say it? Dancing.

  • For me, walking clears the mind.

I walk out the front door with a problem and come home with a tentative working solution. I can take a hike in the forest for hours, get lost in the beauty of nature and not get tired. Walking is like meditation. You can blank out the world, and just take a step at a time, one after the other. You can also focus on one thing that needs your mental consideration while walking.

The key to walking is Timing. It is of the utmost importance. Just when you are going to fall from one foot, the other foot plants itself to regain balance. Maybe babies fall because they haven’t got the timing just right, just yet.

  • The benefits of walking are manifold.

When you walk, you tone your muscles and do what you were built to do. You also develop a rhythm: rhythm in your stride, your breathing, your scanning of the surroundings. Its beauty is that you do not need a special skill. You can do it anywhere, anytime.

Walking can be a rewarding social activity as well. Everyone treasures those walks together with loved ones. Walking communicates togetherness. You can invite anyone for a walk and with each step together, create memories that can last a lifetime.

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  •  In Aikido, we relearn how to walk.

Relearning how to walk is appreciating our relationship with the earth beneath our feet. I suppose the value of relearning that ability is to bring to the fore the awareness of our center of gravity. Being reminded how to walk heightens self-awareness regarding the shifting of balance, our center, and that fact that we are actually always falling from the balls of one foot and regaining balance on our toes of the other foot- one after the other, step by step.

Walk with me?

(Please also see: “Aikido: Everything is a Gift“)

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