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Eight Steps to Running Enlightenment

Article originally in TrailRunnerMag, by Sage Roundtree

1. Restraints:

a. Not harming (do not ignore injuries)

b. Being honest (about what you are capable of)

Practice honesty about what you feel in your body, remembering that you should avoid harming yourself and others. When you do pull back when you might have pushed, be pleased and have faith that it is the right decision.

c. Do not steal or grasp (jealousy/competitive)

Note the internal dialogue that arises when you compare yourself to others. Does it reveal a sense of scarcity or lack? Can you instead consider your strengths?

d. Use your energy appropriately  (relax everywhere you can)

As you run, try to use only the energy you need to complete what you are doing. Look for places to relax, both in your body and mind. Observe whether freeing up your resources in this way improves your overall running experience.

2. Happiness

a. Remain pure in focus: physical cleanliness in the form of a healthy diet and well-organized living space and live will support disciplined work toward goals. Choose foods, training partners, and friends that support your clear pursuit of your goals.

Neatly arrange your running gear and see how that affects your attitude. Organize your training plan and your log. Having an orderly approach can free energy to better efforts.

b. Practice contentment. Practice throughout the day in small ways.

During a run or meditation, reflect on a favorite moment. Contemplate a positive experience from the last week of running. Choose a moment from your last workout that brought you joy.

c. Achieve self-knowledge. Continue to inquire about who you are and what you can and cannot do. If you cannot achieve, surrender.

As you prepare for your next race, notice the thoughts that arise concerning the race. Are your concerns inside or outside your control? If you can control them, note how; if you cannot, choose a mantra to repeat if the issues manifest on race day (such as “Oh well”)

3. Yoga Poses

Be steady and easy. Develop a strong spine and flexible hips.

4. Breathing

Depending on your goals, breath can look different. The right breath to feed the effort.

Choose a moment in your day to notice your breath. Is it appropriate? See where you can relax more.

5. Being Aware

Listen to your body and drown out external distractions. Pay attention to the sensation sof intensity brought by your running and asana and meditation practices, you’ll be able to explore them.

Over the course of your day and your workout, take time out to consider what is going on inside. Tune out sights and sounds and tune in to the internal experience. What is happening in this moment?

6. Concentration

Once you’ve learned to draw your attention away from the outside world and into interior space, you can focus all your awareness on one thing. A mantra can help you.

Choose a word and give it your sole focus for the next 10 breaths. Next time you are in line at the grocery store, choose an item and give it your full attention in the same way. Continue.

7. Flow

Once you can concentrate on one thing, you’ll develop the ability to concentrate on many. This is flow.

Achieving flow is less about making it happen and more about creating the situation where it can arise. When you find yourself in that state, don’t over think things. Appreciate the moment without attachment.

8. Bliss

Once you master this, you achieve blissful connection.