Vedic Meditation and walking the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage hike in Japan

I’ve been in Japan walking the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail in celebration of the 13 year anniversary of the day I was hit by a car.

It’s a day I like to celebrate each year. And I’d wanted to do so in this way since I first heard about the trail in 2017.

I’m still finding the words to describe my experience on the trail fully. And integrating the experience. It’s been so profound. Deeply spiritual, empowering, enlightening, life changing and something I didn’t fully understand how much I needed to do for myself. For my growth.

It’s a very sacred area and you can feel that in every step you take. It is the birthplace of the country’s spirituality and for thousands of years this route has been walked and its trees and waterfalls worshiped.

Most days on the trail are around 6-8 hours of hiking, steep, rocky, beautiful wilderness with pretty much no one else around.

13 months after that accident I was being told I needed to have spinal surgery, I was being given a 6/10 chance of success and the risks were quadriplegia, paraplegia and death.

I never had surgery.

I started with a new head of rehabilitation that told me I needed to learn to meditate. I learnt Vedic Meditation. I started to come out of pain. I started to sleep. I started to move out of sympathetic mode, which activates the fight or flight response during perceived danger, to parasympathetic mode which restores the mind and body to a state of calm. This is what meditating does.

18 months after that accident I was able to add a 5 minute flat grass walk into my rehabilitation.

13 years later I’ve just come out the other side of an incredibly challenging 75km walk. Joyful. Grateful. And with a knowingness that everything is possible.

This is a picture of a pre-hike hike I did, the day before I set out on the Kumano Kodo. It was taken by an older Japanese man I met at this spot at the top that asked to take my photo for his “memories” I’m grateful he did.

More to come and to share, especially images of the glorious Kumano Kodo, but for now, I’m so thankful to be alive.

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