New Beginnings Through Running and Walking

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“The beginning holds the seed of all that is to follow.”
The I Ching

This wisdom from one of the most revered books in China’s history gives us incredibly helpful insight in how to keep ourselves fresh, vibrant and continually moving in a positive direction.

The full piece is worth reading and is one of Danny and Katherine’s favorite quotes:

“It is early morning and work begins. The mind has been closed to the outside world in sleep; now its connections with the world begin again. The traces of one’s impressions run crisscross. Activity and haste prevail. It is important then to preserve inner composure and not to allow oneself to be swept along by the bustle of life. If one is serious and composed, he can acquire the clarity of mind needed for coming to terms with the innumerable impressions that pour in. It is precisely at the beginning that serious concentration is important, because the beginning holds the seed of all that is to follow.”
I Ching, Hexagram 30, The Clinging, The Richard Wilhelm Translation.

Every morning of our lives, we are presented with an opportunity to start anew, fresh, to participate in the creation of that day. We have all felt this: at the beginning of a school year, the start of a new job, a move to a new town – waking up on a beautiful morning and feeling like you can accomplish anything.

The energy of starting anew is a palpable and potent energy that helps fuel your health and your life. A big reason why people are not successful with New Year’s resolutions is because they do not realize the potential or know how to harness the power of a new beginning.

One of the biggest lessons to be learned from T’ai Chi is that, with every movement and every thought, we should strive to create the conditions for energy to flow. Through your ChiRunning or ChiWalking practice, you can learn how to do this. You can learn to direct your energy, rather than letting erratic, unfocused energy direct you. To harness this power at the beginning of any activity, you must learn to manage your energy with your mind.

The steps to master this energy are:

Have a Plan. For the New Year, this could mean making resolutions. For the beginning of a running or walking workout it means knowing the type and duration of your workout and what form focuses you are going to practice. Knowing your long term plan and goals and specific intentions also helps fuel the fire within.

Practice Body Sensing. So it is the beginning of your day, or of your workout, and you have a plan. This step asks you to stop and listen to your body. Body Sensing is the great multitasking activity. When you Body Sense, you calm the mind and emotions by focusing on your body, while becoming aware of your physical and emotional state. Body Sensing is the best method to get into the present. Body Sensing connects the mind to the body, and is a significant step towards becoming a more complete person.

Warm up. Warming up is a time to respond to what you discovered while Body Sensing and to work out the kinks – in your body, or in your plan.  In your running and walking workouts, begin with Body Looseners, focusing on any tense area of the body.  If you are following a New Year’s resolution to quit caffeine and you feel a craving, you might allow yourself to drink tea as a slower way to come off the caffeine, rather than going cold turkey from drinking coffee 3 times a day.

Start Slowly and with Intention. As you move into your day, your run or walk, or into the New Year, pace yourself! Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Feel the energy build in your body build, rather than spending it all in one outburst of energy. Cultivate the energy and feel the momentum grow.

The best way to master this is to practice regularly. Practicing while running or walking is the perfect opportunity to create the conditions for energy to flow in your workout. When energy is flowing, you open the gateways for creativity and also for depth of experience. Rather than rushing mindlessly through your morning or your workout, you can take the time to bring yourself into the present and fully live the experience.

You always have the choice to do things the same way you have always done them, or to do something different, something new, something to upgrade your energy. Every activity, whether you’re running, walking or simply living, is an opportunity for you to master the energy of a new beginning.

Posted in Beginners, Technique

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