How to Do a Running Meditation
In Haruki Murakami's memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, he says, "Being active every day makes it easier to hear that inner voice. " Throughout the book, he comments on the meditative quality of running. The act of running, just as with the act of writing, can be incredibly meditative, and as it involves not just the mind, but also the body, it is a powerful way to shift your mood and to feel more peaceful and have less mental chatter throughout the day. I run regularly, and I have several specific strategies for getting the most out of my routine, making it not only meditative, but also a time during which I can focus on my goals and intentions for the day.
Here's how I do it:
1.Repeat an affirmation.
I find that the rhythm of running is conducive to repeating a mantra or affirmation, as the sensation of taking long strides can easily sync up with repeating a message in your mind. Here are some of my favorite affirmations:
- I receive and give love with ease and grace.
- I am abundant, blessed, and loved.
- I am an extension of the love of God (the Universe).
- I receive more love and blessings than I can imagine.
- I am open and receiving the love of God (the Universe).
- I am healthy, lean, and strong.
What's great about repeating an affirmation is that it pauses your thought stream, meaning, rather than thinking about your chores, responsibilities, or that thing your parter said that you found annoying, you step outside of the thoughts that tend to loop in your mind, and instead, you actively choose positive, affirming ones.
There are many options of what you can visualize while running. You can visualize the outcome of a situation, as you want it to play out (such as going on a date and having it go well, or wowing the executives at a meeting), or you can visualize situations you'd like to manifest (like sitting on a beach in Hawaii). One of my favorite types of visualization is a simple light meditation. I like to imagine myself receiving a white light
3.Appreciate the outdoors & express gratitude.
Another great way to step out of our thought stream is to appreciate our surroundings. It is easy to go unconscious and fall into habitual patterns of thinking, such as what happened at work, or how much traffic we're going to have to face later on in the day, but when you intentionally decide to pay attention to your surrounds and express beauty for the natural world around you, your vibration shifts. You find yourself feeling more peace and ease, and your body relaxes as a natural effect of taking your attention off the details of your life and placing it on the beauty that surrounds you.
4.Feel the sensation of your body, and paradoxically, transcend your body.
Two things happen when you run:
1st: You can place your attention on the movement of your body, noticing the looseness of your limbs, how high you're holding your arms, or the sensation you feel as you lengthen your stride. This grounds you, takes you out of your thought stream, and allows for the energy in your body to circulate and be released; for example: If you are holding tension in your neck as a result of a stressful day at work, moving your body and focusing on the sensation you feel as you run will help to dissolve that tension. After a meditative run, you will feel looser, lighter, and free of any stress or tension that you might be holding in your body.
2nd: Once you get in your body, the next step is to transcend your body. Essentially, we are spirit, and we're not our bodies. That being said, we can use our bodies to transcend our bodies. The mantra here is mind over matter. As you run, especially long distances, your mind will tell you that you are exhausted, that your legs feel achy, and that you should stop, but as you continue to run (allowing your thoughts to come and go), you will see that you can run a lot more than your mind would suggest, and you can push through any pain or discomfort. You can tap into your core power, one that is accomplished from your Spirit, and in doing so, you are capable of great things. Think about what great triathletes accomplish, going further and pushing past the limits of their body. You can almost get high on this feeling, as you meditate on the force that's allowing you to run more than your body is able. It's your Spirit. You can tap into your power beyond the body.
Being physical, whether it's running, doing tai chi, yoga, or some other movement, is a great way to meditate, as you concentrate on precise movements and let your body fall into a rhythm. It's also a great way to release stress, focus on doing your affirmations, or visualizing that which you want to manifest. You don't have to sit cross-legged on a meditation pillow to meditate. You can run along a river, in the mountains, or on a dusty trail, shift your state of being, and feel more ease and joy in your day-to-day life.