Breathwalk for Energy and Stress Relief

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Breathwalk is the science of combining specific patterns of breathing synchronized with your walking steps and enhanced with the art of directed, meditative attention. Specific Breathwalk exercises produce specific effects to revitalize body, mind, and spirit.

Effects include:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Mood control
  • Refined mental clarity
  • Feelings of connectedness

"The problem is not linking the mind and body - they are linked.

The problem is using the body in a conscious way," Gurucharan Singh Khalsa explained at a Breathwalk trainer seminar in Portland, Oregon.

Breathwalking draws on breathing techniques from yoga, adding exercises and walking cadences to create the desired effect. The effects are backed by research that showed the techniques actually produce the desired effects - more than when just plain walking.

Khalsa is teaching Breathwalking through several means.

  • "Breathwalk" book, available at bookstores or by online purchase.
  • Breathwalk classes: Instructor training is being conducted throughout the USA. Instructors may then arrange their own local classes and groups.

The benefits of Breathwalking are a perfect match for today's high-stress/low physical activity workplaces, combining mental and physical benefits.

Going on a Breathwalk

Each Breathwalk has five steps.

Awaken
The awaken exercises are coordinated for the desired effect.

Three to five different exercises are done for 1-3 minutes each. These are simple arm, posture, and conscious breathing exercises. The breathing patterns used include full conscious breaths, the quick "Breath of Fire," and segmented breathing.

Align
Now the walking begins. The walkers go out for a few minutes to establish a smooth, comfortable pace.

They check proper body alignment and stride. Khalsa recommends that walkers look at the Absolute Beginners Tutorial for good walking technique. The walkers do a scan of their body, feeling each link from foot to leg to thigh and on up.

Vitalize
Breathwalkers enjoy Vitalizing
​A specific breathing pattern is used to achieve the desired effect, be it energizing, mood control, mental clarity or connectedness. Techniques include segmented breathing and the use of primal sounds, either unvoiced or softly voiced. During the instructor class, I came to enjoy the use of segmented breathing along with the walking cadence. Each step was in rhythm to the breathing. Most of the breathing techniques are done through the nose rather than the mouth. The breathing-walking combinations, especially when combined with thinking or whispering the primal sounds, clear the mind of the constant self-chatter and allow you to feel your walking rhythm.

The Vitalizing rhythm is done for 3-5 minutes, then a normal breathing and walking pace is done for 3 minutes.

This repeated 3 times or more throughout the walk.

Balance
Finish the walk by gradually reducing the walking pace and allowing the senses to expand. Then finish with a good stretch like the Triple Balance Stretch a described in the book.

Integrate
This is an "innerwalk" exercise to connect mind, body, and environment. Various exercises include "Play and Replay," "Gathering Your Senses," and "Expanding Bubble."

Who Should Breathwalk?
I admit that I am a scientific type with a skeptical eye. However, I completely enjoyed my day of learning about Breathwalk and I have incorporated several techniques into my routine. First, knowing how to breathe properly helps me quite a bit when I am walking fast or uphill. Second, going on a complete Breathwalk is a great walking workout for my "easy" days which I alternate with racewalking workout days. They also can be great lunchtime energizers or calmers during the workday - depending on your need and which one you choose.

Breathwalking may be done solo, with a friend or in a group. It is adaptable for walking groups to use or for use on your own.

  • Walking for Your Mind and Spirit: How walking can improve mood, relieve stress, and bring you closer to your spiritual side and closer to others.
  • Take a MindWalk: A book review with examples of ways to turn your exercise walk into a mental and spiritual rejuvenater.
  • The Spirited Walker: An interview with Carolyn Scott Kortge on using walking for spiritual connectedness.
  • Walking the Labyrinth: Using the ancient pagan/Christian tradition of walking a labyrinth while concentrating on breath and meditation.

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