Mindfulness is a form of meditation, often viewed by many as a weird practice, only for spiritualists and followers of Hari Krishna. Forget about levitation and navel gazing, mindfulness techniques are regularly used by top athletes and coaches as part of the training process. By focusing the mind and body and letting go of distractions in the present moment, we can find our inner calm and rid ourselves of the negative thoughts in our minds. This is very easy whilst we are out running as mindfulness fits perfectly with the adjustment and reflection that we all do, often subconsciously. Mindfulness in running means paying attention to how our body, mind and emotions are responding to our running in the present moment with no thoughts of the past and none of the future, just the present moment.
As you run, simply focus on the pattern of your breath, the rhythm of your feet as they touch the ground and be mindful of proper posture. This mental relaxation will help you to conserve energy, release tension, and make your running feel more effortless. It will also greatly influence running efficiency with a corresponding lack of injury potential. There will be a heightened control over the body.
By training your mind you’re also helping to train your body too, as mindfulness creates balance and allows energy to flow through your whole being, through nadis, channels within your body, of which there are over 70,000 and which carry air, water, nutrients, blood and other bodily fluids. A major benefit of mindfulness is therefore the release of tension , for when a person is relaxed , energy flows much easier through the nervous system, which maximises their performance. Concentration is a vital part of a runner’s performance and those who practise mindfulness can expect better performance, endurance and concentration.
You can practise mindfulness anywhere, simply focus on your surroundings, your breathing and your body in the present moment. Whilst you are out running there’s only one thing that will hinder that mindful run and that is technology, so switch off all those gadgets. You do not need an app or a GPS to tell you how fast or how far you have run, so leave the gadgets at home and simply tune into your body in the present moment.