Running Meditation: Why You Should Try This Active Form Of Meditation
Did you ever think of giving meditation a try while running? I mean, sure, it sounds absurd because how can one meditate while running!? But, for people who don’t like (or find it uncomfortable) sitting for long periods of time for meditation, this active form of meditation can be a perfect fit.
Just as the term suggests; it’s meditation during running (or jogging, if you prefer). When we think of meditation, we often draw an image of a person sitting in the lotus position on a mat on the ground while trying to center their mind to calm their nerves. We never thought of meditation while running.
Moving meditation is where you focus your mind to clear your head and calm your nerves while moving unlike doing the same while sitting. If you find yourself getting antsy while sitting and meditating, then running meditation can allow you a different alternative to the practice.
Did you know that the even and rhythmic motions of running or jogging can also help quiet your mind and calm your nerves? Well, let’s read more about running meditation, its benefits, and how you can incorporate this practice into your daily life!
What Is Running Meditation?
It’s simple – meditation while running is running meditation. This practice, however, is more about connecting your mind and body by letting the present moment wash over you. Running meditation can be a great way to relieve stress and quiet your mind especially if you live an active lifestyle where you can’t spare long hours sitting on your thoughts.
Instead, you choose to focus on your breathing and other sensations while running. Many studies over the last few years have shown the benefits of physical activity on our minds and how they can help.
From reducing stress and anxiety to increasing pain resilience. From improving performance to improving sleep troubles. From boosting mood and mental well-being to reducing intrusive thoughts, meditation while running or performing any other physical activity has many benefits.
Meditation while running can help you ease the symptoms of depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and more. Meditation, the practice itself, rewires the brain and how it responds to certain situations. It helps you learn how to be less reactive and more in control of your thoughts and actions.
Meditation might not be the best option for everyone, though. For example, if your running route is a busy street, then you need to keep your eyes and mind open. I would not recommend running meditation in this scenario.
Running And Meditation: Is There A Link?
Meditation is about focusing your mind and awareness to reach a calm state. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a practice that’s about staying connected to the present moment. This can include focusing on your breathing, bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings, etc. Running meditation is considered a mindfulness meditation practice.
It’s normal to think, what could a physical exercise have to do with meditation? The answer is quite simple. Both practices – physical activity and meditation – are ways you can increase your body strength and awareness. During both practices, the idea is to focus on your mind and let go of the stress you’ve been carrying around.
When you separate running and meditation, you get two different results. The former can help you improve your physical health and performance while the latter can help you become more self-aware and focused.
But! When you combine the two activities, you get the benefits of improving your physical health while working on bringing self-awareness to the forefront. Mindful running allows you to focus on both – your mind and body.
Benefits Of Running Meditation
For many, running can be an activity that can bring them joy and relaxation while for others, meditation can bring the same effects. Running meditation, when done with an intention in place, can help you enter a meditative state and focus on your mind and body.
Did you know that running or any kind of physical workout can release endorphins, one of the happy hormones that can reduce pain, boost mood, and improve mental well-being? The same can happen with meditation!
Running helps you focus on your breathing and bring attention to your body’s sensations. It can also, ironically, help you relax and reduce stress.
Running meditation benefits can include:
Reduces Depression: In a study, it was found that combining physical exercise with meditation helped decrease depression symptoms in over 40% of depressed patients.
Lowers Cortisol: In a study by UC Davis, it was found that meditation can lower the stress hormone cortisol and can help improve your mood in general.
Pain Resilience: Another study proved that running meditation helped increase pain tolerance. They further stated that when you relax and avoid focusing on the pain point, you can push through the pain easily.
Higher Energy: When tension seems to drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted – mind and body – you can turn to a running meditation and restore the energy you’ve lost – mind and body.
How To Practice Running Meditation?
Here are some ways you can incorporate running meditation into your daily routine:
1. Focus On The Breaths
The first thing you need to do in running meditation is to focus on your breathing. This action can help you ground your mind and calm your thoughts. When you begin a routine, you can start deep breathing through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. As you increase your speed, you can simply observe your breath without controlling them.
2. Set An Intention
Why are you running and meditating? What are you getting out of this practice? Set an intention before you begin as it will help you stay focused. When your mind begins to wander, focus on the intention and ground yourself in the present moment.
3. Avoid Music
I know how soothing listening to music can be while running but during running meditation, music can be a distraction you don’t need. Consider forgoing headphones and try to find other things to keep your focus clear.
4. Get Fresh Air
While running on a treadmill can be a choice, make sure you get some fresh air while practicing running meditation. It’ll help! It’s also important to choose a park or a place where there are fewer distractions and traffic. Don’t forget, you’ll be meditating so it’s important to choose a surrounding where you can focus on your body rather than what’s around you.
Some tips to keep in mind while practicing mindful running:
- Pay attention to your body. You can focus on the sensations your breathing is causing. How the breeze feels on your face and what kind of noise your feet make when they touch the ground.
- Focus on your thoughts without judging them. As thoughts pop up, let them go. Keep your attention on your breathing and avoid labeling the sensations.
- Keep gratitude in your mind and heart. When you are practicing running meditation, you can increase the benefits by expressing your gratitude for being able to run, feel, see, and hear what you can.
“Mindful running is the ability to run with a clear intention, fully connected in body and mind, free from distraction, and with an equal balance of focus and relaxation.” – Andy Puddicombe
Running meditation is all about focusing on your breathing and bodily sensations as you run or jog. It’s one of the best ways to reconnect with your body and mind while keeping up with your workout routine.
When you practice running meditation, you reduce your stress, improve your mood, keep your physical health up, and learn how to center your mind.
Basically, all the benefits of mindful exercise are combined with a physical one!
You can also find guided running meditation on the Headspace app or you can go on YouTube and find some guided meditation videos. Keep in mind that it is OK to meditate while running; just keep in mind that you do so while in a safe, distraction-free environment.
I hope this blog helped you understand the many amazing benefits of running meditation and how you can practice this amazing moving meditation!
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