There are days when I find myself running along totally preoccupied with thoughts – thoughts about the day or the evening ahead, thoughts about prior conversations, thoughts of ‘to do’ lists. But then of course there are the days when all you can think about is the action of ‘running’: the legs don’t feel so good today so maybe I’ll just run short; maybe I shouldn’t have had that cup of tea; why am I breathing so hard? And then, there are the odd runs when I find myself back at home without having thought at all, the entire time! Excellent: but a very rare occurrence.
Setting out on one of my last morning runs in Arizona, I began quite normally, trotting along without really thinking about it very much (probably half asleep). As one dedicated friend often states, ‘running can become like brushing your teeth’…
But yet, something was different. As I made my way up the narrow single track that winds behind the house, slightly climbing through the mesquite trees and prickly pear, the air felt soft. The feeling of the air on my skin was so different to the normal atmosphere it was alerting – in a good way. My senses were immediately heightened. It was quite amazing. The sunbeams were slipping over the crest of the mountain, slowly warming the trees and the ground. The recent rain that had soaked the earth was now being released and what I was sensing was the moisture – the air was damp, in the desert.
The conditions were so refreshing and the environment so inspiring that I found myself composing a haiku as I ran along:
“Easy morning run
Almost perfect air soft dense
My mind awakens”
Now I know that’s pretty cheesy, but the question I now find myself posing is how do we find this state of mind more often? I would much rather be thinking creatively on my runs than restrictively worrying about how I’m feeling.
And this is where yoga comes in.
The main goal of yoga is to clear the mind and prepare the body for meditation. If we can use the tools of yoga, and aim to let nagging thoughts drift away whilst we are running (by tuning into our environment and into our breathing), we may find ourselves in an easy, flowing, almost meditative state – and who knows maybe a creative state of mind? Let thoughts and ideas pop up at any time. Let running be your muse.
Photo by Hectorismagic on Flickr.
Does your mind wander on a run? What do you find yourself thinking about? Ever had any earth shattering ideas whilst out on a run? Or written a bad haiku… 🙂