Well Being

I Finally Understand Meditation–I Just Call It “Running”

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meditation running

Remember when I was trying to figure out meditation? Turns out, it's kind of really hard. And it's especially difficult for me because I have a racing mind and, on any given day, about a quadrillion things I want to get done and never enough time to do them. But somewhere in the middle of a long run a few weeks ago, I realized something: Meditation is just thinking deeply and practicing mindfulness, right? If that's the case, I meditate a few times a week–it's just that I'm not sitting in a chair, I'm on a treadmill or a trail. Running is my meditation.

In my quest to understand meditation, I did some research. I checked out the definition of the word (“to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time”). I listened to a guided meditation podcast. I read a lot of articles. I even took that class. But none of it really…clicked. What is so great about this? Am I doing it wrong? Am I incapable of meditation?

Because as I sat in a chair for approximately two hours while a man alternately explained how to meditate, and then gave us time to try it out, I felt completely out of my element. I was so antsy and full of additional bodily energy that it was hard for me to focus on anything other than my restless legs. But when I'm running, I've got a clear mind. No racing thoughts. No wiggly limbs. Just an hour of complete focus on my body, my form, and, frequently, the sound of my own feet.

I think being mindful and taking time out for deep thought is pretty important in our go-go-go society. But I also think that for some people, sitting a straight-backed chair in total stillness just doesn't lend itself to achieving heightened awareness. So I've decided to be OK with being a person who doesn't really get much from seated, quiet-time meditation–and instead, be a person who embraces running not only for the physical benefits, but the mental ones, too.

Image via lululemon athletica