How a Planted runner makes sense of meditation
To date, my life has been viewed as a little different to the perceived ‘norm’. For example, I am a twin. I am a vegan. I run long distances. And now I am a vegan long-distance runner who meditates. It’s good to different.
As I move through my meditation practice, the similarities of my run and meditation practice are becoming more apparent as the awareness grows. It’s this awareness that has made me a more mindful athlete and run coach. This is my point of difference.
The Magic Shop
Much like physical training, the magic of your meditation practice doesn’t just happen in the minutes you are sitting down finding a state of balance, the magic happens when you notice how you react (or don’t react) in everyday situations that may knock you off balance.
It’s not really about what happens during the twenty minutes of meditation. It’s what happens after, out there in real life.
My daily practices allow me to:
- Keep emotions in a healthy state.
- Create good feelings about myself.
- Feel into the natural blissful state of my body.
- Understand raw instincts and use them skilfully.
Training the mind
I spend a lot of time physically training the body; I am a coach who is coached. My planned athletic sessions are created to help me work towards and execute my athletic goals with speed, endurance, and strength. I execute the sessions the best I can on the day. Some days I train more successfully that others.
One of the many lessons meditations has taught me is to let go of any expectation I have of a training session. Holding onto a perceived expectation based on ideals not reality will generally lead to a conflict of unhealthy emotions.
The inner conversations after a session can be one of energy taking not giving. The feedback unhelpful often impacting the feelings about performance not only in training but racing too. Failing to consider the whole picture around me instead opting to see using tunnel vision promotes a negative outcome.
Training is a balance of accepting the pleasant and unpleasant emotions (consciously and subconsciously) and feelings (consciously). The greatest learning of meditation has been developing an emotional awareness of my feelings that prevent reactivity and false beliefs.
Saying hello to the body
When preparing the body for meditation, I carry out a series of loosening exercises which help train the body to let go of tense muscles. Though various movements, I explore the experiences of movement and start to pay greater attention to how the body responds. Once the sequence is complete, calm is established, and the practice begins.
These loosening exercises aren’t so dissimilar to running drills; every action is about telling the body, reminding the body of what is ahead; preparation is the steppingstone to success.
Open up and explore the senses
Can you feel the difference between when you are caught up in wandering thoughts, and when you let go of those thoughts and come back to the body?
The above exercise is a good practice to consciously think about whether you are sitting/lying down for a meditation or mid run. At times without noticing, we can be ‘in our own head’ unconsciously having to adapt to a monkey mind of thoughts and chatter that only when we notice do we give ourselves the space to see.
Ask yourself “what is the difference in feeling tone?” Does one state feel more open than the other?
We can be very far removed from our sensing body; too caught up in thoughts to notice how the body is reacting to a situation. A good practice is to anchor yourself with the breath, this mindful action allows to you see into the mindbody and is useful in a state of balance or striving for balance in physical movement.
Exploring the two worlds
If you are interested in learning how to successfully intertwine the worlds of a meditation and athletic endeavours to find a greater sense of peace and trust, I invite you to reach out to me to enquire about how I can guide to you greater awareness and balance.