Meditation and mindfulness isn’t just for being still. There’s a natural rhythm to running that makes it conducive to a meditative state. When I first started running, I ran without music and I ran into the woods and around trails to free my mind. Today isn’t much different, for a time I listened to music on the run, but have long since abandoned that practice
(unless I’m on the treadmill) and gotten back to one of the aspects of running I enjoy most: the quiet.
Running is my moving meditation.
I spend each morning thinking about the past, the future and the present, becoming aware of each aspect of my life. And mindfulness isn’t just for my morning runs, I’ve found that during the most intense moments of a race I am most in-tune with my body.
This mindfulness helps clear my mind and get ready to start the day. You can bring a mindfulness to your running too, here’s how:
The best way to welcome quiet into your running and allow your inner voice to be heard is to unplug and leave your music at home. Listening to music, podcasts or books on tape is a great way to pass the time. But if your goal is to enjoy the time instead of simply pass it, then head out for your next run without your phone. Be aware of the thoughts that come up in the space you’ve created: are the constructive? How do you talk to yourself? Are you encouraging and positive? Be curious about where you mind wanders when you unplug.
Clear Your Mind
I like to imagine all the stress, worry and anxiety that is held in my mind on top of my shoulders. As I move forward all those worries topple off my shoulders, falling behind me as I run along. I give myself permission to not worry or think about things that are stressful and leave those cares on the pavement behind me.
After you’ve settled into a rhythm on your run, take some time to focus on your breath. Is your breathing shallow? If you take a deep, diaphragmatic breath how do you feel? Think about your breathing and how it is brining oxygen to every muscle in your body allowing you to move forward on your run. See how focusing your breath bring deeper awareness.
Focus in on one or two things. Maybe the terrain catches your attention and you focus on the pavement or the trail beneath your feet. Or maybe your attention turns to the sunrise and the way the light is passing through the trees. Think about what you’re seeing, compose a gratitude list in your mind of what you see. Project your gratitude out into the world towards what you are seeing and the life around you. Alternatively, you could focus inward. Scan your body from head to toe, taking inventory of how you feel in every aspect of your being.
Do you run unplugged? What do you think about on your runs?
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