Running – the secret meditation practice
Turns out, through running I have been meditating and mindful for a long time now.
When I first got interested in the subject of meditating and mindfulness I quickly realised that for years I had been doing this (sort of my way) and without even knowing, through my regular habit of running.
I have to admit that I am not completely unbiased to the subject of running. I have been running for a good 20 years now and it is my favourite sport. There will be times in the year when I run more and train for a race and others when I relax the schedule and just keep a few weekly maintenance runs in the diary. But no matter what, running is always a part of my life and I have been lucky enough to keep doing it for a long time injury free. But the reason it is a constant, is because it is so much more than just a workout for the body; it is a necessity for my mind and soul.
So here is my ode to running, a sport I believe you can do and start at all ages, yes even if you are (almost) 40 and have never run before! There are so many incredible side-benefits to running other than the obvious fitness and health advantages. Needless to say that you should consult your doctor and be conscious of your overall health condition prior to give this sport a try. However, if he gives you the thumbs up, you will soon understand why so many people become hooked on running. Personally here are the reasons why I do it:
Running will provide you with undisturbed time to think, and ruminate on things, to “digest” complicated situations and to workout solutions to problems. You won´t necessarily find this piece and quiet during your day elsewhere, the break from screens, phones and the demands of others.
Running creates a temporary bubble around you, a virtual cocoon that you can use to do whatever you please (whilst running). Whether it is to just enjoy the scenery, to listen to music or an audiobook. You can´t really do these things easily somewhere else at times, without the danger of being interrupted by something or someone. But, guess what, no one will interrupt you when you are running, let alone because they would need to be able to keep up with your pace!
When you are running you are not competing against anyone other than yourself and that can feel extremely liberating, if your life otherwise takes place in very competitive environments. No one is there to judge you, no one will care if you are going slow or fast, if you are a good or mediocre runner, no one will approve or disapprove.
We all know running liberates endorphins, and with them you will return a much happier and positive person after every run, with a clear head and a “can do” attitude. Running can become your daily source of self motivation at times when it is difficult to find this somewhere else.
So why don´t you give running a try? It will feel strange, even horrible in the beginning and you may want to start walking first and then slowly build it up.
But, if you cherish your space and “me time”, if you need some peace and quiet to recharge and de-compress from the stresses and demands of your day to day, running could be the way to finding your inner balance.