Zen Mind … Runner’s Mind

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ChiRunning, just like anything else worth learning, takes focus and concentration to really get it right. Trying to remember to lift your legs, lean your body, keep your posture straight, and chew gum all at the same time might leave you feeling as though you're using your brain more than your legs! Well, guess what? You should be.

ChiRunning is not only for your running technique, but also helps you train your mind to be more quiet, focused and concentrated. By putting your attention on lifting your legs or leaning forward in a repetitive way, you are teaching your mind to focus. When your mind is focused, it becomes quiet and uncluttered. To make clear decisions in your life or to be able to do anything really well, you need to be able to focus your mind. This is one of the goals of meditation and one of the great benefits of ChiRunning.

Meditation isn't easy but it's a great practice to train your mind. If you've ever tried to meditate, you've noticed that your mind wanders all over the place. Fact is, it doesn't just wander when you're meditating, it wanders most of the time. The Buddhists call it the "monkey mind" because it jumps so quickly from one thought to another.

In order to train your body, you must first train your mind. Begin by focusing on just one aspect of your running for 2 minutes at a time. It could be leaning or picking up your feet or your foot-strike … anything. As you attempt to hold the focus, you'll notice how much your mind wanders. If you're focusing on leaning, repeatedly and gently return your mind and your body to the focus of leaning. The key word here is gently. This, too, is part of the practice: to simply notice, but not beat yourself up and say, "I can't do this!" Simply return to the focus and try again.

Eventually your mind will be more focused and your body will naturally take on the new way of moving without your mind telling it what to do. After training your mind and your body in this way, you'll find you can learn anything more easily.

ChiRunning is good for your running and for your body. The more you practice focusing in this way, the greater chances you'll have of running longer and faster, and virtually injury-free for many years to come.

It's also good for your mind and your spirit. A clear, focused mind is hard to come by in our busy, cluttered world, and yet it's what we all need more than ever. And when your mind is clear, it allows your spirit to run free.


Resources to help you master the ChiRunning basics:


Posted in Beginners

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