Running is Meditation

running is meditation

What is meditation?

To my understanding it is to focus the mind on something, be it own breathing or sound of chirping of birds or flowing of water or on a rose or on the flame of a candle, forgetting all the worries or anything on which one can concentrate.
 Meditation is a very powerful tool to increase mental strength and concentration as recognised and proved by yogis since a hundreds of thousands years ago.
Meditation helps in reducing stress and calms the mind. It helps me to focus better on issues at hand. It helps me to have a positive outlook throughout the day. It helps me to be a better worker and a family man.
To me, since the time I have running seriously, running has become my form of meditation.
I have read a few books on running like Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes, Eat and Run by Scott Jurek and Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. What these books highlighted is that long runs can be a form of meditation.

Running is meditation. I meditate while I run. No, it does not mean that I close my eyes and run blind. Then how? Let’s see :-

1. Breathing

When I am running, I am focusing on a number of things. One of them is breathing.

It is very important to focus on breathing to get into a nice rhythm or what you can call is finding the “sweet spot”.  After finding that “sweet spot”, I can then concentrate on other things. Generally on long runs, finding the rhythm takes time i.e after around 5 km or so for me. It can be more or less for you. After that I am very calm and start enjoying the run.

Scott Jurek in his bestseller Eat and Run has written about the importance of belly breathing and how it has helped him increase in levels of endurance.

2. Form

Another thing on which I concentrate is my running form. I keep this aspect in mind throughout my run.

Is my stride length okay?

Am I landing on my mid foot?

Am I slouching?

Is my head in a neutral position and other things.

These are the many questions I keep asking myself while running. It’s sort of a checklist. It helps me a lot to maintain an efficient running posture and thus, avoiding any injuries.

3. Nature

Apart from the vehicular traffic, garbage and stray cows and dogs, scene on a morning run is beautiful.

Especially on a long run day, when I am on the outskirts of the city, the overall surrounding is mesmerizing. The cool morning breeze, breaking of dawn, small lakes enroute(typical to Hyderabad), gleeful chirping of the birds etc really opens up and soothes the senses.

4. Writing

More often than not, I get ideas on writing articles for this blog on my runs. Typically I form a rough draft in my head before I start punching it into the keyboard once I get home.

It is absolutely amazing as to how the brain gets creative  while running.

5. Relieves stress

I leave all my problems at home when I am out of the front door. By the time I am back, most of the problems are either gone or I find a solution while on the run.

Even if there isn’t any solution, I am generally at peace to tackle the problems head on. I guess it is all because of the release of the feel good hormones called endorphin or commonly known as runners’ high.

I guess the above factors are what meditation is all about. I find solace, calm and peace on runs. The kind of technique can be called mindfulness in which I am focusing on various of running.

What do you find peace in? Try running and  you will come to know.

Till then stay fit and keep running.

How long does it take for you to find the “sweet spot”?

Do you have a mental checklist while running to check your running form?

Do you have any particular route or trail where you are blissfully happy to run on?

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Author: Neel

I am Neel and the creator of borN. I am an ultra marathoner, scuba diver, adventurer, writer and father of an extremely active child.

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