So Simple, So Effective
From Casey Colahan, ChiLiving staff member and Certified Instructor
I recently took several weeks off from running and am just getting back into a routine. Those first few runs after a hiatus aren’t fun, but I had an amazing experience on my last run that I have to share.
My goal was to run a slow and steady three miles. About 20 minutes in, I started getting tired and could feel my posture collapsing. I was bending at the waist, and my lower back was very unhappy.
I ran through all the posture Focuses in my mind, but my body just wasn’t getting it. Instead of focusing on what my body was doing, I decided to project my focus externally to what was around me. I decided to use Y’chi.
I focused on a tree that was about 300 feet ahead of me. I wasn’t thinking about anything else, and I wouldn’t let myself look at anything but that tree. I imagined I was attached to the tree by an invisible string, and that string was pulling me toward it. With every inhale, I gathered up my energy, and with every exhale, I directed that energy toward the tree. As I got closer, I felt the crown of my head lift and my spine straighten. My posture fell into place without me even trying.
I leaned more and kept my gaze on the tree until I got to it. My legs relaxed, my back found its happy place again, and my whole body felt lighter, so I kept picking something new to focus on until I finished. I ran another whole mile, and I didn’t even notice that my pace for the last mile was 30 seconds faster than the rest of my run. Talk about effortless! It was truly THE most amazing experience I’ve had with ChiRunning to date. I was blown away.
Most of the Chi Form Focuses are about focusing on your body and your internal flow of energy – footstrike, arm swing, cadence, posture, etc. It can be challenging to get all those Focuses to work together, especially if you’re fatigued. Focusing on something outside of your own body and giving yourself one goal (“Just get to that tree/light post/spot on the horizon!”) can quiet your mind and allow your body to find the best way to move on its own.
It’s hard to explain how Y’chi can turn a grueling workout into a great one, so give it a try on your next walk or run. It might sound too simple to be meaningful, but you’ll quickly see (and feel) how surprisingly effective it can be.
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Posted in Beginners