Last Sunday it was my birthday and what better way to start the day than with a run! Having just finished reading and being inspired by: Running With The Mind of Meditation, Sakyong Mipham.
This excellent book combines mind and body training and has excellent tips to help us to stay in the present while enjoying the sense of freedom encountered during running.
It is 7am in the morning and already the temperature is 25C! The streets are packed with people up and about already. As I start my run I focus on the movement of the breath in and out of the body being aware that the breath is oxygenating the cells and the blood. I focus on leaning forwards slightly to utilise the force of gravity to help me move forwards and also pay attention to each leg individually for a few minutes making contact in the mid foot area (less pressure on the calf and achilles than a heel strike) and the action of drawing the leg backwards and then forwards again.
My arms are close to my body and support me to gain a rhythm to my running. I also focus on my core being the central stabilising area that supports me to move the arms and legs from.
Using my senses while running supports me to stay present and is a form of active meditation. The heat of the sun, the welcoming cool breeze, and the sounds of nature give me some head space from any negativity that may present itself.
I am running past a beautiful river where some Vietnamese people are fishing and others are cooking their breakfast. I am aware of the heat and humidity making it more difficult but quickly learn to accept it and come to terms with the what is about the situation rather that how I want it to be! They are such friendly people, always willing to help and seem to be very grateful for tourism.
Twenty mins is enough for me in this heat! I feel a sense of gratitude for having made it to 55 today and still being able to run and for being in such a lovely place! Focusing on what I have rather than what I don't have gives me a sense of grounding and positivity, coupled with the endorphins released from running supports my mental and physical well-being. This awareness of the positive effects of running makes me want to do it again tomorrow!