I just returned from the 2011 Chi Running
instructor conference. What an absolutely epic weekend this was. It's always an inspiration to get together with other Chi Running instructors. Here's the whole crew
In some ways, it's like bizarro world. You see before I met these folks, I had a little bit of fear abut my running. There was a lot of hullabaloo about running hurting people, causing injury, and being a total drag. Danny Dreyer
said it best when he said, "it's not running that hurts your body, it's HOW you run that does the damage." That simple statement helped me to understand how my fellow Chi Running instructors can run super smooth well into their 60s and beyond, while others swear up and down that running will cripple you.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have met these folks at a young age. A lot of my fellow Chi instructors have been through the ringer, yet with a determined attitude they have managed to regain and maintain a physically fit and healthy body. They have all used the Chi Running approach to figure out how to run in a way that enhances their life and adds to it in positive ways. This is in contrast to the other end of the spectrum where running is draining, tiring, hard and boring.
It's not often I get to pick the brains of 50 of the top running coaches in the world. Every conversation seemed to deliver more insight into running, pain, suffering, and how to practice happy. If I had to boil it down to one main point that resonated with me the most from the weekend I would say: set your mind to practicing happy.
This is a concept that has been reinforced through my study of Kripalu yoga
. Some of the earliest study of yoga involves studying the mind and how to eliminate suffering. Once I heard this I thought GREAT! Suffering really sucks. If I can eliminate suffering my life will really rock. Well luckily my teachers made it clear early that the path was not necessarily easy. Everyone walks their own path in a way, and in another way we share the path.
In Yoga the strategy is to recognize what state of being you are currently in. In other words, check in with reality, be real with yourself, admit what is going on and so on. If you realize you are in a bad way and want to make a change then practice the opposite state of being. For example if you are sad, practice being happy. If you are tired, practice having energy. It's not a guarantee, it's note a cure, it's not a magic bullet.
It's a practice.
I have personally found that this strategy can help me move towards more positive attitudes, feelings and thoughts. The thing I like most about this is how simple it is. I can do it anytime, anywhere, and don't need any external thing to do it. If you want to give this a try, it's real simple. Check in with your self and determine what you are experiencing that you want to practice the opposite of. If you are experiencing pain, practice feeling pleasure. Don't over-think it, just use your intuition, and remember to continually check in with yourself.
Adding little Yoga tricks like this has brought my running to a new level. If I'm feeling a little tired, tight, or sluggish, I do a bit of Yoga and set my mind to experiencing energy, flexibility and fluidity. I usually end up feeling better off after than when I started. Again, it's not a cure or a magic bullet, but it's so easy, so free, and so fun to do, I practice it as much as I can remember to.