By sunny breeze
Running can be a very relaxing and meaningful experience for many people. That's why people love to go running. It is a great way to lose the daily stress and to stay centered, to be present in the here and now.
Running is recommend to almost everyone. It is especially beneficial if you want to increase focus in your life and find peace.
But, don't be alarmed at the thought of running.
Because, you don’t have to run at all, you could cycle, swim, row, or even walk. Anything that makes you comfortable with yourself and enables you to find peace and solutide. This exercise can be your own meditation time, your zazen meditation method.
Tips on Making the Zen of Running Your Routine
Here are some tips if you want to find the Zen of Running. They will work for any form of exercise actually:
- Concentration. Concentration is something that has to be practices. It isn't something that comes naturally. It is a process where you have to bring yourself back to the present moment whenever you find yourself pulling away. Repeat the process as long as you can. Pay attention to your thoughts, and if there is a thought related to the past or the present (for example, if you think about the lunch that will come later), don’t fight with that thought trying to stop it. Acknowledge it, be aware of it, and it will leave you consciousness gently. When that happens, return to the present moment.
- Breathing. Breathing is a great place to start when you are practicing concentration. Breathing is life. It is a crucial part of any exercise. You can concentrate on your breathing. By concentrating on that, you can follow the pace of your exercise, and correct the intensity of your running accordingly. In other words, you should not be breathing too hard.
- Intervals. In the beginning, it will be difficult to concentrate for too long. That's normal. Don’t worry about it. Practice concentration in small intervals at first, for example, 10 seconds at a time. In between the intervals relax yourself. Then concentrate for another interval of 10 seconds. Later, you will be able to stretch the intervals half a minute, or even a full minute.
- Practice every day. If you can do this meditation every day. You don't have to, but you will be better off if you find some time every day to practice this meditation. But, it doesn't mean you have to run every day. You can walk or bike on alternate days. That way you can slowly build your determination and strength to the point where you can run every day. But in any case try to make it a can’t-miss appointment. The more you can practice roughly at the same time every day the better.
- Contemplation. When you are tired of your attempts to concentrate, you can contemplate. Think about your life, about your day, about the important things to you, about your most important goals, and about the people that surround you. This type of contemplation is important for everyone and it should be a part of your life too.
- Intervals again. You've seen that you can alternate between contemplation and concentration. You can choose certain markers to do this alternation. For example, you can concentrate as you run up the hill, and contemplate on your way down. Think about what else could trigger this alternation during your running.
- Stress. Exercise is one of the best and most natural ways to relieve stress. If you combine running, or virtually any other type of exercise, with concentration and contemplation, you will be able to melt the accumulated stress during the day and feel great.
- Ideas. During the contemplation time, you will notice the spontaneous birth of fresh ideas. It is a terrific time to think about new ideas. You can come up with ideas for new projects, creative writings, things to do with your friends and family. Write these ideas as soon as you get home, as they tend to disappear quickly.
- Journal. It is very useful to keep a journal where you can record the ideas or some of the thoughts you have had during the contemplation phase of your running. You may even enter some notes with regard to your concentration times. If you review your day during contemplation, and if you think about the important things in life, you will have more than enough thoughts to remember and write later.
- Be in the here and now. After some practice you will get very good at concentration. Once that happens (remember, it doesn't have to be perfect), you can move on to focussing on some other things than just your breathing. Breathing is the best way to get you going, but there are more important things that you can concentrate on. You may want to open your mind to your surroundings. Or to the space within yourself. You can concentrate on the sounds and sights around you, or on the pains and aches of your joints and muscles during the run. You can also concentrate on your feet as they hit the ground, or on the wind as it hits your skin. You may choose to focus on your hair as it rustles in that wind, or even monitor your thoughts during the run. It all comes down to being in the moment, in the here and now. That's the most powerful thing to learn. While it’s not easy to learn this sill all at once, you will get better and better with practice, and eventually you will become a master of the Zen of Running.
How do you meditate while running? Why don't you share your experience in the comment section below. Namaste!
About the Author
sunny breeze is a member of sunnyray's staff.
There is a cool meditation app for runners. You can find it on itunes. It has helped me a lot. In can introduce mindfulness and movement, either fast walk or running. Hope it will help someone like it has helped me.