Make Your Running a Meditation - Chi Living

Make Your Running a Meditation

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Mon Sep 1st, 2014, 4 comments

Running is great for the mind, body and spirit; it's why we do it. It can clear your mind, trim your body and lift your spirits all in one fell swoop. But, have you ever thought of using running as a meditation practice?

Meditation has been used for centuries to increase awareness, slow down the mind, relax the body and generally allow the practitioner to experience elevated states of well-being. Not too shabby, for just sitting around doing nothing. The goal  of meditation (if there really is one) is to bring us into the moment and out of our incessant, random, and perpetually unruly mind-chatter, so we can experience what it's like to be a human BEING (used as a verb here) instead of a human DOING.

When we think of meditation, the image that usually pops up is of someone sitting cross-legged on a cushion with their eyes closed, breathing slowly and deeply… desperately trying to shed some form of anxiety. The only way to pull yourself out of your thoughts of past and future is to be in the moment. And, the best way guaranteed to get you HERE is to be in your body, because there is no past or future in the body; it exists only in the present.

The best benefits of meditation can be as close as your next run. Here's how to do a running meditation:

At the beginning of your nextrun, start off with the intention of simply paying attention to each of your five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste) … one at a time for 5 minutes each. Just bean observer and "listen" to what each of your senses is experiencing. Try not to label your experience with descriptive words, like, "Wow, that smells like a rose." or "That oak tree is so tall." Just allow each of your senses the space to simply experience colors, smells, flavors, textures and sounds. Every time your mind butts in and wants to describe something (and it will) simply return your attention to whichever sense you're working with at the time. Cycle your way through each of your senses and then, when you've done them all, continue on with your run, just "listening" to the passing world entering through your senses. You'll soon find yourself leaving your mind-chatter on the road behind you, where it belongs.

You can't experience this if you don't try it. So, give it a shot, and let us know how it works for you this week. Or, if you have your own form of moving meditation please share it with us all. We'd love to hear it.


4 CommentsLeave a comment below

Joe Gallagher Sep 1st, 2014 04:02pm

Very simple but very interesting article. I have been listening to the radio,but,now, no more…..............

Great idea. I have always separated meditation from exercise. Thanks for the advice!

Nancy Siefer Aug 31st, 2015 05:09pm

As a long-time yoga practitioner and a healthy 72 yr. old chirunner/walker, I add a sixth sense: what my mind is doing. Sometimes I think of what I’ll make for dinner, laugh, and go back to run/walk. The thoughts pile on and I let them go, one “cloud” at a time. Sometimes, I think, “what’s my next thought going to be,”—that will really ground you in the moment.
  Eventually, I settle on my inhales and exhales, breathing deeply into my lungs and abs and then feeling the breath exit in reverse. For some reason, this always works to relax me and to get taller, focusing on the rising breath.

What a wonderful article! Chi Running/Living is always bringing new ideas to the fore.

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I wanted to take a minute to thank Danny and everyone involved at Chi Running. On January 1st 2010 I limped off the Buckeye Trail in NE Ohio with another pulled calf muscle, I have to admit I was done running. 

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