Salfordians have been embracing nature during a ‘Mindful Lunchtime Walk’, held in Peel Park this afternoon.
The rain did not dampen spirits on a walk which has been organised as part of Salford Ranger Teams’ October Walking Festival.
For some, having the opportunity to walk through puddles while noticing the falling leaves and autumnal colours, only added to the experience.
Organiser Natalie Rossiter said: “It’s important to get outside, stretch our legs and connect to the seasons.
“The mindful walks for the Walking Festival are really about helping people to notice, using their senses, what’s going around them and specifically, to tune into nature because it helps us to feel good.”
She added: “Autumn is such a lovely time for that as well, noticing all the beautiful colours and everything.”
Natalie, who is a mindfulness teacher and counsellor, told walkers to take the time to pay specific attention to sounds, movements and what colours they could see during the walk.
The aim of Natalie’s regular mindful walks is to allow a set time to be present and to really appreciate and take in the surroundings.
Natalie said: “Anyone can listen to the sounds around them and look. But it’s nice to be prompted to do that and there is something lovely about doing it in a group as well, I think.
“We all sort of share our experience together.”
Today’s walking group contained around 10 walkers, some of whom had previous experience in mindful walking and had attended Natalie’s sessions previously, and others who were brand new to the concept.
The short 45-minute session served as a taster and introduction to mindful walking, or perhaps as a brief interlude during a busy day – as it was for some walkers who worked in the University of Salford building nearby.
One of the participants, Brian, has been practicing mindfulness for over 10 years, and regularly attends walks such as these.
Despite being experienced in mindful walking, Brian spoke of how he is still learning something new each day.
He expressed that he was particularly fond of Natalie’s concept of metaphorically leaving your commitments and fears in a pile at the entrance to the park, and only picking them up again when you leave.
Natalie’s hope is that if people can attend her walks and feel they have benefitted, they will be able to practice those skills in their everyday lives.
She said: “It really is a practice, like meditation, or yoga, or anything that’s good for our wellbeing.
“The more we do it, the more benefit we get from it.”
Natalie Rossiter holds several organised Mindful Walks, the next of which is taking place in November.
You can find out more here.