“With a body made joyous through movement, the mind is able to relax. With mind/body balance, we can take the power of feeling good and generate compassion.” —The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche (Zen Buddhist)
Movement frees the body and mind. It is one of the most natural and functional movements the body can harness, as it propels us forward in life, literally, as well as metaphorically. Running is often the form of exercise chosen to reduce stress, which brings us greater perspective in connecting us directly with the wisdom and appreciation of our body mechanics.
Most runners will naturally agree, that running is a form of mental therapy, their time to just be… free and joyous.
This begs the question; does the practice running and the practice of mediation have similar affects on the body and mind? The answer would be yes, and when nurtured can not only improve your state of running, but your state of mind.
The art and practice of meditation and yoga can offer similar benefits; which aid us cultivating stillness and nonjudgmental awareness of the mind’s activities. Even though one is sedentary and the other is not, they both require consistency and discipline. They both are a form of training and both are benefited when the student uses the skill of visualization and control within the moment.
As a an ultrarunner and founder of RUN for A CAUSE, meditation and yoga are a significant part of my training all year round, as well as for those I coach.
When the mind is trained, the body follows and as many runners will convey, there is a moment in every athlete’s state of performance and consciousness when there is this sense of union within the body. All your senses are heightened and you feel free, even in the presence of fatigue.
Running can be seen as the extension of a basic meditative practice. The next time you head out for a run focus and meditate on your intention and don’t forget to hit the Yoga mat post run for a good stretch.
Next week lets look at the art of meditation in exercise as a preventative tool in prevention of injury and rehabilitation.