"Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach."
When asked when I started meditating, I always refer to when I began running about 12 years ago. With each run, I felt recharged, balanced and ready to face whatever came my way. I had no idea what meditation was, but I knew I felt really good. It was my therapy. I got addicted quite quickly, and with this addiction came many injuries. I pushed myself beyond limits I thought possible. I did not think I could have a sane life without running. Injury after injury, I eventually accepted that I had to let it go, and perhaps there was something else awaiting me.
Looking back today, running was the catalyst to my sacred journey of Self-exploration.
What do meditation and running have in common?
One is physical and the other is sedentary but both require patience, determination, consistency, and practice.
The two produce the feel good chemicals endorphins. So those days that we need to take off to recover, we can and still feel good.
Thoughts are part of the process. When we choose to let them go we avoid drama. Mind chatter creates barriers in our meditation and in our run.
After our run or meditation, our tranquil mind follows us in our day in each breath, thought, speech and action. We are nourished from within.
Our overwhelmed body and mind are purified from irritation, fear and stress. Sweet taste of freedom!
We gain self- confidence to overcome limitations and break down barriers that we may be aware of or that we did not even know were there.
The present moment awareness we experience allows us to be more conscious of what nourishes us and let go of what does not serve us. With longer runs, we do not want to waste our energy in tensing parts of our body that will injure us or slow us down. The same goes for our relationship with every day life.
With running, we call it being in the zone; with meditation it is the gap. It is when we are flowing through our experience. Our mind is calm, our body is relaxed, and our breath is effortless. We connect to the space between our thoughts, the space where every thought arises. It is a space of pure potential that we bring back with us after our run and meditation.
Scientific research now proves the physical and psychological benefits of both.
Our meditation practice is an extension of who we are. My favorite routine is to put some music on, run to the park, connect with nature, meditate and run back home. There is a sense of confidence coupled with clarity and peace that allows me to face life with faith, optimism and passion. Respecting my natural rhythm, I honor my body, mind, soul and environment.
Dr. George Sheehan writes in my favorite essay, “Why do I run”:
“So, I run each day to preserve the self I attained the day before. And coupled with this is the desire to secure the self yet to be. There can be no let up. If I do not run I will eventually lose all I have gained-and my future with it. “
I continue to enjoy the benefits of running and as I re-read this quote, meditate instead of run fits in just perfectly.
Article published on Chopra Centered Lifestyle