Running lowers your cholesterol, increases cardiovascular health, and reduces body fat. But I run for exactly none of these reasons. I run because I stink at meditating.
Allow me this quick demonstration:
The entire class sits comfortably in Lotus position. Except me, because apparently I’m about as flexible as Han Solo frozen in carbonite. In front of each of us is a tea candle in a pretty glass candleholder. Concentrate on the flame
, our instructor says. Clear your mind of everything but it’s gentle, soothing light.
For a half-second, my mind goes completely blank.
I wonder how many of these candles they go through?
Stop thinking. Concentrate on the light.
When I get to work I’ve got to finish that blog from yesterday.
Clear your mind! Relax!
At the end of which I get up from my deformed flower position, popping both a knee and a hip on the way up, and beat a hasty retreat.
The point is: My brain doesn’t know how to sit still. It’s like a Jack Russell Terrier puppy...on speed.
But running is different. Running is too hard to do distracted. At first I can only concentrate on my breathing—In-In-Ooout, In-In-Ooout
—or on the sound of my heartbeat in my ears—Thup-Whum, Thup-Whum, Thup-Whum,
but later that falls away, too. When the pain in my legs and the heavy drowning sensation that comes from breathing 100% humidity recede, I don’t have to think at all. I am at peace and my mind is clear.
All the other stuff--the heart health and the body fat reduction--that's just gravy. I consider it a good karma refund on my total failure as a yogi.
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