Stress Management: 5 Ways ChiRunning Can Help
This time of year can be an extremely confusing period for many people. Riding the wave of the holidays, we can lose ourselves in deep interactions with family and friends. But once January hits, a wave of simultaneous stress and exhaustion washes over us. This year in particular has left many feeling apprehensive for what the future holds.
For managing stress, ChiRunning is uniquely suited to help - not only to relieve stress, but to reorient the mind and body to one another, promoting true revitalization and peace. Though all aspects of ChiRunning can be utilized with great results, these five aspects stand out among the rest:
Mindful Movement - Exercise is so important for beating the winter blues. However, when one is exhausted or stressed, it is extremely important to move mindfully. It can be easy to fall into the very Western mindset of “no pain, no gain”, but this can be a recipe for injury. Instead, check in often with your body, and ensure that your mind is not leading through its lens of stress.
Loosening, not Forcing - It’s important to change one’s mindset when it comes to exercise in times of high stress. Instead of forcing the body to burn out stress, focus on loosening the tension present in your body with gentle movement. This allows you to move through the stress and keep you from injuring yourself by being aggressive and working too hard. Remember, ChiRunning teaches “effortless, graceful movement”, achieved without force.
Body Sensing - One of the most important Chi Techniques is Body Sensing. This powerful practice allows one to reorient the mind and body to one another, working in tandem as they are meant to. When you focus your mind on your body, your mind won’t be thinking about other things. Your body lives in the present moment, not the past, not the future. While running, use the Form Focuses to keep your mind focused on your breath, your body and your technique.
Let the Energy Flow - Many people think the best defense against stress and exhaustion is “relaxation” in the typical sense - such as sitting on the couch watching television. ChiRunning teaches that in reality, gentle and mindful movement is actually more beneficial, as it allows the energy to flow freely throughout body and mind. Chi Walk-Run is an excellent technique for beginning the practice of mindful, gentle movement in times of stress and fatigue.
Engage Your Core - When one is experiencing stress, it can affect the entire body. One might feel it in the shoulders, or even the hips and lower back. However, this energy can actually be harnessed and used for a powerful impetus to move forward. The core is the area of the body best suited for stress management, as it transmutes tension into personal power. To practice, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Taking a few deep breaths, imagine the tension present in your shoulders or back flowing into your core. You’ll soon feel the change within you, and a new confident outlook on moving forward.Practice while sitting, ChiWalking or ChiRunning.
Anytime you feel stress, just close your eyes, take a few deep breaths from your belly, and notice any areas of tension or pain in your body. When you do, breathe into those tense spaces and feel them relax into openness.
“Water is the softest thing, yet it can easily penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.” - Lao Tzu