Walking with some happiness and mindfulness - Chi Running

Walking with some happiness and mindfulness

Posted by Elizabeth Frost on Tue Aug 25th, 2009, 6 comments

I took Oliver for a solid 45 minute walk this morning. (That’s my cover for saying that I went for a 45 minute walk this morning.)

It was great. The mornings have been fresh and crisp around here lately and it’s such a nice time to walk. Plus, it makes me feel better knowing I have walked my little buddy a good distance, and have worked my own heart, too.

It’s funny; when I walk at a brisk pace, lately I have felt more aware of my body than I do when I run. I can’t quite explain what I mean, but it’s almost like my body talks to me more when I walk for exercise. I think it’s a function of running more for exercise than walking and that I’m honestly probably more cognizant runner than I am walker.

What a thing to think about! I walk all the time, every day, but when I walk for exercise, with the intention of raising my heart rate for a period of time, the whole scene changes for me. I am able to Gather chi by enjoying the vista and the sounds of birds and water running. I feel less able to issue that chi back through my body back into nature.

I still need to work a lot on my core engagement. And my upper body posture and alignment. Often I catch myself slouching (even as I sit and write this now) and constantly have to remind myself to get tall again.

So when I walk I want to think more about leading with my shoulders and really letting my legs lead. I am going to try using a visualization when I walk for the next week or so (whether it be to the printer or around the park) that my shoulders and eyes are what lead my body rather than my legs (the second one is Y’chi). So when I get out of my chair next (in 20 minutes when I leave, for example) I will imagine that my shoulders are the driving force behind my movement, rather than my legs.

I’ll let you know how it goes: core engaged, leading with the shoulders and eyes, legs relaxed and cooperating with the floor/road.



  • core engaged,
  • leading with shoulders,
  • upper body alignment,
  • y'chi

6 CommentsLeave a comment below

Hi there. I am new to your site and running. I am currently just starting to train for a 8k run next year. I am very happy to read a blog where someone is kinda starting out in the world of jogging not extremely experienced. I look forward to reading your blog when you update so I can keep my motivation high.

Hi Rhona, Thanks for your note. I certainly am not experienced, and will probably continue to call myself a beginning runner for some time to come. My original post from August of last year through now are good references for you, certainly, but to know that you’re waiting for updates is motivating to me, so we’ll motivate each other! Keep up the good work, and have fun!

Hi Liz,

I wanted to share with you that it took me almost a year
to consistently keep my core engaged. I took a chi running seminar with Danny in October 08’.
About a month ago I started noticing that I was keeping my core engaged without even thinking about it.

So remember “patience” is our friend.

I am doing the San Antonio 1/2 marathon in November with
my daughter who lives in Illinois. I live in Austin, TX where the training in the heat has been frustrating, it’s still in the high 90’s. Last year when I ran it the morning temperature at 5:30a.m. was 36 degrees. So hopefully the cooler weather is coming.

Linda Sue

Hi Liz,

Thanks for these easy tips that bring the joy into walking.  Like the Linda Sue from Texas, we are experiencing heat - and humidity - so I have shifted my walking to the evening, which is lovely with the smell of all the native plants.  I look forward to leading with the shoulders and eyes tonight, as well as my nose for all the plant life.  I had read about gathering Chi, and tonight I will try it.

Hi Colleen,

Thank you for your note! How did leading with your shoulders and eyes go? Did it feel different? I like it, and I like the sound of it, too. It sounds so centered and solid, doesn’t it?

Colleen Khallad Sep 16th, 2009 12:24am

Hi Liz,

“Leading with the shoulders and eyes” helped turn my latest two evening walks into a sort of meditation, and unexpectedly reduced the discomfort in the backs of my legs.  I did extensions and tried to achieve a more relaxed cadence with pretty good success. 

In the current newsletter, Danny had mentioned using good posture: using our skeletons to hold us up rather than tiring out our muscles.  I added this focus to the second evening walk and found that this, too, made my walk more relaxing.

I plan to continue leading with the shoulders and eyes and focusing on better posture throughout my walks the rest of this week.


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