3 Great Ways to GAIN Energy as You Run
Have you ever spent the day hiking in Nature and come back feeling alive and refreshed… even though your body is pleasantly tired? Or, felt really great after seeing a close friend? Or refreshed after a good night's sleep? All of these are examples of the movement of chi in your direction. It's the most basic definition of nourishment… to gather chi.
In T'ai Chi, we learn that chi is energy that can be directed by your mind, and that you can move it in two basic directions… either toward you or away from you. When you move it toward you, you are gathering energy… inward, toward your center to either replenish expended energy or store energy for later use. When you are directing your energy in an outward direction from your center you are issuing energy that you have stored.
I use gathering techniques often, as a way to regain energy after a hard day's work or during long or difficult runs, as a way to rest and recover while while I'm still in the midst of my activity.
If you're looking to restore some energy, the best place to gather chi is in more natural settings, away from traffic and buildings and potentially stressful surroundings. When you're out in Nature, you can feel a concentration of energy in the trees, grasses, hills or mountains, open vistas, trails, or bike paths. Nature is full of available chi surrounding you in every direction.
So how do you gather energy? Here are three great ways to gather energy as you walk, run, or even ride your bike.
See the world in 3-D: As you move along through Nature allow yourself to see your passing surroundings in 3-D by noticing objects close to you and then far away. Notice how close objects pass by more quickly than objects farther away. Take the time to feel the depth of what you are running through. Switch your visual focus to things in the foreground, allowing your eyes to rest on the detail of closer things… then allow your eyes to see things in the background (some that could be miles away) so you can feel a sense of the whole area you are running through, from microcosmic to macrocosmic. Try to get a felt sense of the depth of what you are looking at. It's so much more alive and nourishing than looking at life as if it were on a flat screen TV!
The Window in your Chest: Imagine you have eyes in your chest and that everything you're looking at comes straight into your chest as you see it. Imagine your chest is like a big picture window, or a huge dish antenna, letting in beautiful scenery and sunlight and all that expansive energy Nature has to offer. Feel the colors of the leaves, or the sky, or notice the slope of the earth, the movement of a stream, the rustle of leaves. Allow whatever you're looking at to come directly into you through your chest. Breathe it in through your chest, and "eat it" like you would a meal. Gather it into your chest and allow your heart to respond. Then, let all of those good feelings sink deeper into your body by dropping into your center.
Use Your Senses: You have 5 senses… touch, taste, sight, sound and smell. One of the quickest and best ways to absorb or gather energy, is to drop into a heightened sense of perceiving your surroundings through your senses. What does the terrain beneath your feet feel like? How does the air feel on your face? What are the subtle smells you notice? What sounds are going on around you? Do you hear birds, or the wind through the trees, or the sound of running water? When you open your senses up to the sheer magnitude of what's going on around you, you really begin to get a taste of something much larger going on… Life, in it's full-blown manifestation!
All of these exercises bring energy inward, toward you. You can feast on all of it, at any time, when you need to gather some energy and replenish your battery. Just feel your dantien as a magnet, drawing in and collecting all of that available energy with every step you take and every breath you take. In no time you'll be fully recharged, and feeling how good Life really is.