There are many levels of observation you can practice while walking. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve broken them up into four distinct levels: sensations, feelings, emotions, and self-awareness. Once you have practiced all of the levels, you might find that you like one better than another, or that you like to interchange them, and that is fine; but if you’re just starting out, you should do them in order.
The first level of observation is sensation. It is a physical observation. On this level, you are only paying attention to the physical sensations you are feeling in any particular part of your body, at any given time during your walk. Many people like to start with their feet and then slowly work their way up their body.
The next level of observation is noticing how sensations make you feel. Do not confuse feelings with sensations or emotions — an easy mistake. Instead, think of feelings more as a general “like or dislike” kind of visceral reaction to the sensations you notice. Is a sensation you’re feeling pleasurable or painful? Comfortable or uncomfortable? Pleasant or Unpleasant?
The third level of observation is emotion, and it is when you can start to notice how you feel emotionally during your walk. Begin paying attention to the way you feel emotional. Try to become aware of the general emotional state you are in. Also, notice how your mood changes as your walk progresses. It is not uncommon for most people to shift from one emotional state to another frequently.
Self-Awareness and Consciousness
Finally, at this level of observation you can start to become fully aware of yourself. You can begin to understand and recognize your emotions, feelings, and sensations deeply enough to categorize them in a detailed way; or at the very least, know if you want to encourage them, or steer away from them. This level is obviously the most challenging to reach, and may take you lots of practice, so don’t be discouraged if you do not get to this stage on your first walk or two.
Note: Specifically, with regards to medical issues, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Web site.