By Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle
During the winter months, it can be harder to commit to a workout plan: It is darker in the morning and darker when most of us leave work, making us feel tired and stressed. Let’s commit today with one of the easiest methods to staying in shape… walking…the Yoga Way!
You will feel energized, strong, and healthy, which leads to physical and mental health. Walking and rhythmic breathing are powerful tools for weight loss.
Here is the technique:
- Start with ten minutes of walking if this is new for you.
- Increase the time each day by five minutes, walking for 30 minutes by the end of the week.
Posture is very important. Picture an imaginary string at the top of your head lifting you up toward the sky. Lift your ribs up from your waist and relax your shoulders back and down. Your chin is level with the earth. Each step starts heel to toe, adding a gentle squeeze of your buttocks muscle with the leg that is back. Walk lightly–learn to walk quietly instead of pounding your foot down. Think light: It is more challenging and strengthens your muscles quicker, and it is better for your joints; it even looks better! Of course, the yoga of walking requires a pleasant look on your face, so bring the corners of your mouth up toward your ears slightly and enjoy.
Now we are ready to add rhythmic breathing to each step.
Rhythmic breathing is a powerful technique that will help burn calories and oxygenate every single cell as you purify your lungs. It is through the nostrils … two breaths in through the nostrils and two breaths out through the nostrils.
Each step has a breath. One step, inhale… Second step, inhale… Third step, exhale… Fourth step, exhale. And continue on. It takes a minute or so to coordinate the breath, and then you are good to go!
You can climb mountains! And you won’t be winded.
Finally, add these words silently with each step – STRONG AND HEALTHY.
Step 1. Inhale – STRONG
Step 2. Inhale – AND
Step 3. Exhale – HEALTH-
Step 4. Exhale – Y
STRONG AND HEALTHY!
You will feel what you think, your walking becomes a powerful walking meditation, and your body and mind become STRONG AND HEALTHY! If the weather or your schedule makes it difficult to take extra time to walk, you can practice this breath during your usual daily activities and when you climb stairs!
Enjoy walking…The Yoga Way!
Claire Diab is an internationally recognized Yoga therapist. She is the director of the Yoga Program for the Chopra Center founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon. She is an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University. She is the author of several books and DVDs on Yoga including “Yoga For Firefighters.”
Dennis Boyle is a retired fire director and acting chief with the West Orange (NJ) Fire Department. He was the recipient of the 1999 New Jersey Deputy Fire Chiefs “Fire Officer o