If you are a good runner, I can help you become great. If you are just starting out on a daily jog routine, then let me tell you a little about running.
I teach people how to be their absolute best, empowering them with knowledge that I hope will translate into wisdom. I’ve mostly had to be my own teacher in life, listening to myself first and everyone else second. When it comes to health, I am qualified to be your guide, because I have successfully treated and healed myself. Ancient Yogic texts say that one should not attempt to teach something to someone unless he has mastered it himself. What does this have to do with running?
At 17 years of age my best time in the mile was 8:15, and in my 30’s, I was running 5 minute miles. What happened in between was I learned how to optimize my body. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. As a teenager I had ADD/ADHD, I was lethargic, late to develop, vaccine and mercury poisoned, with scoliosis and lordosis so severe from a leg length discrepancy that a doctor predicted I would have to have discs fused by the time I hit 30. At 30 I ran the Chicago Marathon in great shape. Thanks Mr. medical doctor, but no thanks.
In my early 30’s, after I fixed most of the chronic health issues I had before I became conscious, a typical day off for me would be a 5-10 mile trail run, a 1-2 mile ocean swim and a 50-75 mile bike ride, sometimes all on the same day. This was my meditation. On the trail when you are barreling downhill, jumping from rock to rock with a heavy backpack, there is no room for error, it is akin to being a race car driver, you push your machine to the limits, go so fast that if you crash you’ll probably have to be carried away. It’s a calculated risk, and its taken for the benefit of experiencing the bliss achieved through stillness within movement, the rush of total awareness as time slows down and you become one with the act of running, biking, swimming, skating, whatever pushes you to the limits so far that you are forced to expand your center of gravity to regain balance. And that is called growth. This must be achieved lovingly, with respect for the limits of the body, and in a state of calm and peace, although you are testing your limits, you should still be in a parasympathetic state. The ancient yogic texts advise that one should never be out of breath, that to get to push yourself so hard that you have to catch your breath is actually counterproductive and will shorten the lifespan. One’s breath should always be deep, silent, and under control. We must build our endurance slowly for lasting benefit, not push ourselves so hard that we invite injury.
Injuries happen because most people are way too goal oriented and I think this is unhealthy and only re-enforces patriarchal values, giving no credence to balance between universal male and female polarities. In an egalitarian society, one that I create in my own reality, we are not so interested in pursuing goals as much as finding balance. All effort is directed within.
Once balance and equanimity is achieved then one can push their limits, as they should, and expand into attaining goals effortlessly with awareness of how everything interrelates. Now you are free of the patriarchal dogma of the belief that one has to sacrifice something in order to get something else. This is why so many goal oriented people drop dead before their time, the power or money or fame they wanted so bad was manifest at a great sacrifice of mental, spiritual, and physical health. But that’s old school, new school is you can have it all, but only if you understand what it all means, and how it all fits together. I believe in free will, I just don’t think its free, one has to work for it.
The meditation of long distance running is as great practice for growing both mentally and spiritually. You are alone with yourself, experiencing the subtle wonders and limits wonders of your divinely engineered machine, you are at one with breath, and in the present moment.
Olympic rules dictate the difference between walking and running is that in walking one foot always touches the ground, but in running, you spend more time in the air than on the ground, and at some point, when the body is conditioned enough, it becomes like floating, a sensation of stillness within motion. Once you get here you will feel the universal energy that animates all life pulling you forward as you run. You are no longer the one in control, nature is. The metronome of your breath sets a repetitive pace that puts you in a relaxed high alpha brain state on top of a low theta wave, which is a meditative dream state in which everything is new and nothing is judged. That still point between the inhale and exhale, focus on it, get to know it, because that is the zero point upon which all creation pivots.
But how do you get to this elite running prowess and supreme meditation? I’ll give you five of my tricks. They are unorthodox and unconventional, but they work.
- I learned this one from Walter Payton, the greatest running back that ever lived. I mimicked his technique of running. He used to kick out his legs and it appears almost as if you are running straight legged without bending your knees. He did this so as to confuse the defence as to his trajectory. I noticed when I run like this I’m in the air longer my strides are longer and it takes a lot less effort. The important detail is to kick those shins out, get those knees totally straight before you bend them again. Now you have a full range of motion, and no risk of foreshortening your hamstrings. The landing is also different. Instead of hitting with the heel and rolling off from the toes, its land with the heel softly, silently, and launch off immediately from the ball of the foot. The trick is to constantly try and increase your stride.
- Run barefoot on sand if you have a choice. So many runners I see are destroying their knees running on pavement next to the beach. This is ridiculous! Ditch the kicks and go barefoot. This will strengthen your knees, ankles and your heart better than running in shoes on pavement. Save that for race time.
- Keep your core engaged. Change your belief system from thinking that you are pushing yourself forward when you run to feeling that you are actually being pulled. If you know how a sailboat works you’ll know that the wind is not pushing the sail, but rather pulling it. A wing of a plane is the same, whereas a sail being vertical creates lift as a forward motion, a wing is pulled and lifted to create vertical motion. Imagine you are that sail or wing. Imagine there is an invisible cord attached to your solar plexus, the third chakra or Manipura in Sanskrit, the power center that governs self-esteem and transformation, and gives the warrior inside you wings. When you ask the universe to pull you forward, you have to push a little at first, but once you are up and running you are magnetized by your projected desire and you move forward effortlessly at a nice clip all day if you have to, like the Mayan runners of old, running a hundred miles nonstop on a few cacao beans.
- Wear breathable clothes when you run, organic is preferred. Avoid synthetics that don’t breathe and force the body to reabsorb what your body is trying to expel. Read my article on The Dangers of Yoga Pants to understand further the significance of what you wear when you exercise.
- Stretch while you run. You can actually loosen yourself up versus creating tension when you run, and I’m amazed I don’t see more runners stretching while they run. Change it up, your warm up should include many different stretches while you are running. Kick out like I already told you, feel the lengthening, and then kick up, let your heels hit your butt cheeks for the counter stretch, expand then compress and expand again. Stretch your arms. Stretch them straight, down, out, above. There’s no need to look like T. Rex when you run all the time. Keep your arms active and loosen your neck and shoulders; keep your body free and light. Clear any energetic blockages before you run with yoga and stretching.
Walt Whitman said: “If anything is sacred the human body is sacred.” So true! And what better way to experience the sacredness of your mortal coil than through rhythmic functional movement in time.
Author: Vic Love, www.Fb.com/Vityalove