Running As A Meditation Form
Meditation does not necessary mean that you have to light a candle, repeat mantras or seat in any particular way. Meditation means ‘a cessation of the thought process’ and it´s not a technique but a way of life. It describes a state of consciousness, when your mind is free of thought, self-talk or any other distraction. Meditation is awareness, so whatever you do with awareness, it is meditation. Any activity free from other distraction is an effective meditation, for example: listening to the birds singing, watching your own breath or observing a child sleeping. Actually, Becky Striepe says that even dynamic activities like running can be a form of meditation. According to Striepe, long distance running can be used to meditate. Meditators need to get into the right mindset in order to drop in, and so do runners: they also use a combination of breath and mental conditioning. Striepe describes the below exercise on how to practice distance running meditation:
|How to Achieve Distance Running Meditation
There was an episode of Radiolab recently where they interviewed an ultra-marathon runner who talked about the rhythm of your stride and your breath. She described it as “poetry,” and I think that’s just about right.
To get to that sweet spot, the key is to shut everything out of your head and focus on your breath coming in and out and your feet as they hit the pavement. What the ultra runner talked about, and what’s worked for me and my partner, is a double inhale and exhale, paired with two strides. It works like this:
1. As your foot hits the ground, you take a short breath in.
2. The next time your foot makes contact with the pavement, take another short breath.
3. Take another step and breathe out.
4. Take one more step and breathe out again.
5. Keep this rhythm going, breathing in and out and focusing on your stride and let other thoughts fall away.
You don’t want to count your steps or your breaths. Just breathe. In, in. Out, out. Step, step. Step, step. Before you know it, your mind will be quieter, and you’ll have found your rhythm.
If you would like to practice some running meditation, I highly recommend this guided meditation: “Running Meditation: Connect With Power And Energy”.
Read more from Striepe on long distance running as meditation here.
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