Plugging Into Running With the One Legged Posture Stance

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Lately while running, I have been focusing on the One Legged Posture Stance (OLPS).  A good description of the OLPS can be found in the ChiRunning book  (p. 78-79). At the Kripalu workshop last fall, Danny said “The One Legged Posture Stance is like plugging an electrical socket into the floor with each step.” In other words, it helps ground you. At a ChiRunning technique workshop, that first run, where we put it all together, isn’t really a “run” per se, but more of a series of OLPS in motion. This helps keep each step in the moment and sets the conditions for the energy to flow.

When most people first come to me, they don’t know about the OLPS, and it’s a big ah-ha moment for them. Here’s a scenario if we ignore that OLPS. First, we usually start off too fast and over stride. Already, the body is saying “hey I’m not warmed up!”. But we ignore it and wait for that “second wind”. The mind wanders and thoughts creep in, like “how much further do I have to go?” and “when is that second wind going to come?” We also think “I need to keep up the pace so my training partner doesn’t think I’m a wimp.” and “geez, my calves are tight today!” After a while, we might say “Darn it! My knee is starting to hurt again!” and “I will be so glad when this run is done!” and “Hope I have some ‘vitamin I’ at home cuz I’m gonna hurt, for sure!”  Finally we finish running, and we limp off to have a beer and wash down some painkiller. We might even give up on running because “it’s too hard on the body and the knees are shot.”

If, instead, we practice staying in the moment while running – something that is a real challenge for a lot of us – and start running SLOWLY, the body and mind have a chance to work together. After practicing the OLPS standing in place, and feeling what it feels like to have the mid foot under that column, the body knows how it’s supposed to feel. Starting off on the run, we keep the stride short and feel each landing as a momentary support – like a column – with the foot coming down like plugging a socket into the ground. The body weight shifts to the next step, with another OLPS. We’re not breathing hard at all, just moving along, feeling what good posture feels like, from the shoulders to the hips, to the ankles. The foot comes down under or slightly behind the center of gravity. As the body warms up, we lean just a little, from the ankles, and feel that OLPS in this new position. Each time the foot comes down, there it is. If the knee starts to say something, we shorten the stride and feel the OLPS once again. We might notice that we aren’t breathing as hard, and maybe our training partner is right there next to us. As we lean into the run a tad more, constantly seeking that balance, we can feel that OLPS and feel the mid foot landing behind the hips. As we come to the end of the run, we straighten up a little and slow down, gently jogging to the finish. There is no pain, no need for ‘vitamin I’ and the beer tastes extra good because the body is pleasantly tired. Just another day of ChiRunning, focusing on the one legged posture stance.

Posted in Beginners

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