Feeling the Run
Recently, I helped Danny and three other instructors at a four day Chi Running workshop at Kripalu Yoga Center in western Massachusetts. As Danny taught and talked about running technique throughout the weekend, there were many things he said that were worth remembering. Fortunately, David Stretasnki wrote most of them down and sent them to us instructors. Since then, each time I go for a run, some of the phrases come back to me, and I try to pick one or two to meditate on while I run. Rather than share all of what he said in one sitting, I’d like to do a series of posts, with a phrase as a topic, and relate how it helps me in my practice, and how it can help others in theirs.
During the opening introduction, as Danny outlined the weekend, he told the class, “This weekend: “showing” is our job; “feeling” is your job. The body tells you when it feels good. It is the language of your own body; learn your own language.” How simple can that be? And yet how difficult! In my own running practice, I have been working on ‘feeling more and directing less.’ As I am running, I try to let go of what I think it is supposed to look like (identification), and see if I can feel my form. As soon as that little voice comes up (aka, my ego) wanting to know if I am doing it ‘right’, my right shoulder tightens up and my left foot starts landing heavy. That’s the language of my body when old habits creep in. When it talks, it’s a sign to regather to my center, practice nonidentity, and remember what it felt like to feel aligned and relaxed. I’m not saying my brain has to go to sleep; I still need to access the tools I’ve gotten through practicing the Chi Running technique. It’s more like I am letting go of identification of a preconceived notion of how I should look. My body tells me when I feel good and that’s what I try to listen to.
In your own running practice, having an instructor show you ‘how’ and/or getting video-taped, and then feeling what that change (if needed) feels like, can help make that connection to feeling good. Since I have been ‘assigning jobs’ with my clients and me, I have seen more ‘aha’ moments come easier. The responsibility of trying to feel and identify all at the same time has been lifted, and has allowed them to learn the language of their own body. And my job is easier because I just have to show them how. The body knows when it doesn’t feel good and when it does. After all, isn’t that what attracted most of us to the Chi Running technique in the first place?
- running as a practice,
- body sensing