Walking and Wholeness

Note: I wrote this post yesterday, and didn’t upload it for technical reasons. As I write now, a drama is unfolding only a few miles away in Watertown, where several friends of mine live, and where I have my office for private lessons (I was supposed to be teaching there this morning). The post seems all the more relevant in its small way as my neighbors and I are asked — in some cases ordered — to stay at home while the authorities try to apprehend the suspects in Monday’s bombings and the further violence in the past 24 hours. I can feel in my body the sensation of being cooped-up from the outside, and also pulled inward by fear and anxiety. Thinking about walking, even if I can’t get out yet, helps me feel more free and alive.

walking meditation

This spring, the theme of my Feldenkrais workshops and weekly Awareness Through Movement classes will be walking and running. Sitting down to write about my teaching, I found myself uncomfortable at first talking (more specifically, advertising) about running so soon after a celebration of this human capacity turned to horror at the marathon on Monday. But then I realized that in the midst of this shattered moment, our responsibility — to ourselves and to the world around us — is to find wholeness. And that is, after all, what I teach.

There is something very wholesome about walking.

Some styles of meditation use it as a focus. Many of us go for a walk to clear our heads when we are troubled or stressed. There is something deeply natural and human about it: finding balance in movement, one foot in front of the other, each foot appearing under us just as we need it, then propelling us forward as our pelvis rolls along, arms swinging like complementary pendulums, the spine twisting back and forth like a perpetual motion machine....
Here’s a recording of a lesson I taught on Tuesday (the day after the bombing) that might give you a taste of this wholesome way of moving. Before I started recording, we took a few moments to acknowledge that the lesson may well reveal feelings associated with the events of the previous day. After all, that’s why we call it “Awareness Through Movement” and not “Better Movement Through Awareness.” I think this perspective is evident in the way the recording came out.

Enjoy, let me know what you think, and take care of yourselves and each other,