In a world that’s focused on calm, meditation, and finding those still and silent moments in our days, running is often overlooked as a tool and practice for the mind. When we meditate we aim to reach that “zen moment.” We sit quietly to still our minds and take in the present moment. Running as mindful practice can be a great addition to any spiritual or physical routine. The chill in our toes, the minor aches and pains in the body, and the sounds all around us that make up our environment are all important.
It’s normal for our minds to race and often become distracted while running. During this time our body is working in such a way to propel us forward with the least amount of effort possible in order to sustain the movement. During a run, it’s common to eventually fall into a steady rhythm or tempo. After the first mile or so — the warm up — the body falls into a comfortable and sustainable gait; This is a perfect opportunity to turn your weight loss efforts into running as mindful practice.
Before a run, try to focus on your mind-body connection.
Make an effort to take note of how you feel prior to setting out. This may be a strong emotion or the feel of your skin and you slide on your running garments. How does it feel?
Deep breathing prior to a run
It can be beneficial to implement some deep breathing techniques before a run. When running as mindful practice, take a minute to do some deep and controlled breaths, this will raise the oxygen levels in your blood and expand the capillaries in your lungs. Furthermore, it will allow you to center yourself and begin to open yourself to receive the full benefits of your practice.
Keep a mindful and steady rhythm during the run
While running as mindful practice, bring your attention to your body and the ease of your movements. Feel your muscles contract and release with each footfall. How is your breath reacting and adapting to the pace you’ve created?
Don’t let your thoughts get lost
Running is cathartic and your mind will naturally try to help you through big questions and obstacles during this time. While we are aiming to quiet the mind, we also don’t want to ignore any nagging questions or blocks.