Off the Running Path, Onto Meditation

As a planned break from running, I continued to take this week off from running. It felt kind of strange to be completely off training. But overall, I think it is doing me good – for sure the “pent up” energy will be good when I resume this weekend with San Jose Fit.

On my mini break, I’ve ventured into meditation. I have meditated on and off (mostly off – especially since I took up running in the last year). I used to meditate after yoga practice and it was very soothing. Almost always I felt more refreshing. I went back to meditation last weekend. At first, it was very challenging to let the mind focus on the present. I had a hard time sitting still. I had to use a guided meditation mp3 to guide the mind towards a path and towards breathing.

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After my first meditation in over a year, I went into this deep meditative state and probably went asleep too. It felt like a deep rest that I did not feel for a long time! Next day, I went to a meditation class (again something new for me). This time, it was not much “guidance” during meditation and it was mostly a silent meditation. Wow, talking about sitting still and not moving – that was completely opposite of running.

I practiced again last night. Wow, this time, for whatever reason, sitting still was the hardest part. The mind did not wonder as much but the body seemed to want to move (maybe all that pent up energy was showing signs of impatience?) I was not able to complete the entire 30 minutes of practice. I was probably shy of 7-8 minutes. That was okay since I still felt a renewal of energy afterwards.

I was thinking how to combine running with meditation. In some ways, I had always felt like running was kind of mediation in itself. At each moment, it is about putting one foot in front of another, although the mind is too smart. It can multi-task especially running can become auto-piloting. How many times have I ran and thought about “hm… what should I cook when I get home”? Way too often! I was reminded that the times when the run was challenging (be it a trail run or a long distance run) were the times when I had to focus on breathing. Those were the runs that felt more nurturing for the mind. Something about focusing on breathing brought me to the present moment.

Well, I’m considering to add one-day meditation practice as part of the exercise routine. It’s about balancing the mind and the body. How many times have we runners say that running has been mostly about the mind, especially when it comes to diligent training and completing endurance/long distance races? Well, it makes perfect sense to me to train the mind too!

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