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TAO/MITAKUWE OYAS'IN  Vol. 45 (August/September 2013 Issue)



From Denean:  Walking Gently Walking:  How to Walk Gently Upon Grandmother's Back

Walking Meditation

This Issue's Featured Song: "Walking Gently Walking"

Don't Miss the News and Announcements:  Radio Interview with Caroline Wise King from Shaman's Keep

                                                                              NEW RELEASE!!   WIKU  coming very soon!!


Click Here to check out Denean's Music 

Walking Gently Walking:

How to Walk Gently Upon Grandmother's Back

Walking Gently Walking...Walking in Balance...remember those songs? Lately I have been contemplating these songs very literally in regards to how I walk.  This will be a very different newsletter because while walking genlty upon Grandmother's back is a profound metaphor as to how to live life, it is also something very tangible and practical in regards to our health and well-being.  Since much of what I will be talking about is better understood through demonstration I will be including some short video clips to assist with that.


I was having some issues with my knees which led me to information about something called "heel pounding".  Heel pounding is landing with your heel first in such a way that causes considerable jar and shock to your joints.  Many people walk this way without realizing it and it can be the culprit for knee, hip, and back ailments of all sorts!  Many of our athletic shoes today are made in such a way with all of their cushioning and padding that they actually promote heel strike first.   Our ideas of what good posture is can also promote this problem because in holding our shoulders back we are many times leaning back as we walk instead of being truly vertical. 


I found an article by Sherry Brourman, (who has a book called "Walk Yourself Well" ), that brings to light the fact that most gait problems come from leaning back.  In fact, nine out of ten people with posture issues tend to lean back.  This article showed a test that was very revealing to me about my own posture.  It is called a "shoelace test".  To be respectful to the author and appropriate with copyright concerns, I will point you to the test.  It can be found at the following link toward the bottom of the page under "A Quick Eval":


Is Your Walking Style Helping or Hurting

It was amazing to me to discover that I was indeed leaning back and that in correcting my vertical alignment, walking gently and lightly became effortless.  The challenge, of course, is to be able to correct it consistently and to be aware of when you fall into the old pattern of leaning back.


Danny Dreyer of "Chi Walking" has some excellent videos both on Chi Walking and Chi Running.  Here is Lesson 1 from his Chi Walking Instructional videos that gives us some great tips on how to consistently correct our alignment so that we can walk more gently.  It works!  You can find other Chi Walking lessons here on You Tube.



Another aspect of walking gently and in balance upon Grandmother's back has to do with walking barefoot...or as I have found...walking in moccasins! Some say we are keeping our feet in "coffins" (i.e. our cushy, insulate shoes and sometimes not so cushy pointed toe Stilletos or the like!)  But in doing so we are not allowing our feet to do what they were intended to do by nature.


Did you know that your feet contain 52 bones, 66 joints, 40 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments?  By keeping our feet overly supported with arch supports and orthodics we may be weakening our feet instead of allowing them to strengthen by being in their natural! 


There are now minimalist shoes such as Vibram Five Fingers that allow your feet to dictate the movement of the shoe rather than the other way around.  Here is a link to a very interesting page to learn more about running barefoot, forefoot stiking and training tips if that is of interest.


The following is a video by Dr. John Douillard about a Native American technique of running called "Fox Running". While I do like this video I must say that I don't agree with the idea that the Vibram Five Fingers force you to run/walk correctly.  You can still run/walk incorrectly and cause yourself injury so be sure to adjust your form!


I would also like to include the following video by Dr. Ray McClanahan, a Podiatrist who created something called "Correct Toes".  I like this video because it helps us to understand  more clearly the structure of our feet.




11 second video of a Kenyan Adolescent who has never worn shoes!


As I said in the beginning this is a more practical oriented newsletter than usual, but so important to our well-being. May it help you to find what you need to walk more gently upon Grandmother's back.







Our Meditation Time

Walking Meditation is Wonderful!

Since we are on the subject of walking, I would like to introduce you to walking meditation. If you are not familiar with walking meditation, here is an excerpt from Venerable Ajahn Brahm from an article called "Walking Meditation is Wonderful".


"Choose a clear, straight path between twenty to thirty paces long. This can be a corridor in a house, a path in the garden, or just a track on the grass. Use whatever is available, even if it’s a bit less than twenty paces long. If it’s comfortable to do so, walk without shoes, enjoying the contact of your bare feet on the ground.


Stand at one end of your path. Compose the mind. Relax the body and begin walking. Walk back and forth at a pace that seems natural to you. While you are walking, clasp your hands comfortably in front of you, and rest your gaze on the ground about two metres ahead. Be careful not to look around. If you’re doing walking meditation, it’s a waste of time to look here and there, because that would be distracting.


The first four stages of breath meditation apply here as well. But in walking meditation attention eventually comes to rest on the feet rather than the breath.


At first, aim to develop the first stage of present-moment awareness, giving up the baggage of the past and future. Reach the state of just walking, easily, in the here and now. When you feel that you have settled into the present moment, where thoughts concerning the past and future are absent from the mind, then aim to develop the second stage of silent walking in the present moment. Gradually let go of all thinking, let go of the inner commentary. Walk without any inner speech. Develop silent awareness of the present-moment. Make use of techniques such as watching every moment very closely, so that you don’t have the time to comment about what has just happened, and attending to the space between thoughts.


Once the inner commentary has slowed to a bare trickle of inner speech, deliberately focus your attention on the feeling of movement in the feet and lower legs. Do so to the extent that you clearly notice every step on the path. Know every left step, know every right step—one after the other without missing any."  Ajahn Brahm


(To read the full article follow this link)



This Issue Featuring:

Walking Gently Walking

From  The Weaving    

This song will be available for listening until the next newsletter issue

(approx. October 1st, 2013)

I love this song!  "Walking Gently Walking" came to me while out in nature, walking in the beautiful valley behind my house in the mountains of Colorado many years ago.  What a special place.  This song has become a favorite of many.  I hope you enjoy it too:-)


The lyrics and artist's notes from the album:



Artist Note: 

As we walk, may we weave into our character a firm, yet ever so gentle strength.  May our every step be taken in a sacred way.  May our thoughts, our words, and our actions be the model for those who follow, that they may learn by our example...the way of heaven.

May we go forth...walking, gently walking.

Fade in...

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heyo Ho

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heya Ho

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heyo Ho

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heya Ho

Heya Heya Ho

Walking, gently walking / Precious Mother under me

With each step I am thankful / Precious Mother to be

Blessed by your love and grace / My heart is free

Walking, gently walking / Precious Mother with thee.

Brother hawk is flying / Soaring high now over me

Messenger of wisdom / Open my heart...Set me free

Spirit has given...the strength I did need

Filled with sacred power / Thank you, Mother under me

Precious Mother under me

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heyo Ho

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heya Ho

Heya Heya Ho

In the stillness of the dreamtime / You sent your sign unto me

And the seeds that you have planted / I will nurture...they will be

Born of the highest truth...I will stand free

Walking in your power / Precious Mother under me

Oh Grandmother under me

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heyo Ho

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heya Ho

Heya Heya Ho

May I sing forth from the center / Of your breath that flows through me

I will be the hollow bone / You ask for me to be

Love flow to every soul that all may be free

And feel the healing power / From the Mother, let it be

Oh Grandmother, it will be

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heyo Ho

Heya, Heya, Heya Ho...Heya Heya Ho...repeat...fade...

Written by Denean

© Copyright 1993 Sacred Earth Music, BMI

All Rights Reserved

News and Announcements:


I recently did an interview with Caroline Wise King of Shaman's Keep.  You can listen right here:


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Album projects are like's just not done til it's done.  Well this one is done but now the mastering engineers have to do their magic.  I'll put it this way: I baked the cake and they put the icing on the cake :-) At any rate it will be finished very soon and I will send out a separate announcement letting you know!


Much love,






Thank you for your continued support of this website as a vehicle to nourish the spirit of the people.

Mitakuwe Oyas’in (Translated "All My Relations Included"),

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