How do you meditate while running?

If you’ve ever felt a sense of deep calm and connection to the present moment while running, you may have already practiced running meditation.

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Mindful running can provide the benefits of both exercise and meditation. (Westend61/Getty Images)

As it sounds, running meditation is when you combine a meditation practice with running.

You might think that meditation is nothing more than sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed while remaining still. Meditation actually can talking about it and is often practiced in a quiet place without distraction.

But you can also practice moving meditation, and running can give you that opportunity. The rhythmic nature of running can allow you to calm your mind and connect fully with the present, while leaving your worries behind.

Running meditation can offer you many benefits. Plus, there are specific ways to do it to get more out of it.

Running meditation is meditation in action. It’s about connecting with your body, calming your mind and really letting yourself live in the moment while you’re working out.

Running meditation can be a good option if you have a busy lifestyle and feel like you don’t have time to sit down and observe your thoughts every morning.

Instead of worrying about a project at work or other to-do list tasks while running, try focusing on your breathing and the sensations in your body.

Researchers have been studying the benefits of combining meditation and exercise for years. Meditating while practicing some form of physical activity can help you:

  • stress and anxiety reduction, per study from 2009 and 2019 respectively
  • increase pain tolerance, according to a 2018 research review
  • improve performance and power status, based on 2020 and 2018 studies
  • improve sleep, according to a 2019 research review
  • reduce the risk of injuries, based on 2017 research
  • improve mood and well-being, according to the 2018 research review and the 2017 study mentioned above

Almost everyone from recreational runners to elite athletes can benefit from adding meditation to their routines.

Running meditation can be especially helpful if you live with:

While meditation and running are both great for managing symptoms of depression, they’re even more effective when combined.

Meditation works by changing the way the brain responds to stressful situations. It makes you less reactive and better able to control unwanted or unpleasant emotions and thoughts.

However, it is important to remember that running meditation may not be the best choice for some people. For example, if you prefer to run through busy streets, you should probably keep your eyes and ears open. This can make it difficult to focus on your body and mind without compromising your safety.

You can also discuss mindful running with your health care team to decide if it’s the best method for you.

Meditation refers to focusing your attention and awareness to achieve a calm and clear state of mind. There are different types of meditation. Mindfulness meditation is one of them.

Mindfulness involves staying connected to the present moment. This can be done by focusing on your breathing, bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings.

Running meditation can be considered a mindfulness practice.

Consider these tips if you want to practice meditation and mindfulness while running:

1. Focus on your breathing

Concentrating on your breathing is often recommended as the first step in many meditative practices. It can serve as an anchor to calm your mind and quiet your mind.

When you begin your running routine, breathe deeply through your nose by relaxing your diaphragm and exhaling slowly. As you run faster, you can simply watch your breathing without trying to control it.

Consider starting slow and increasing your pace gradually, focusing on how your body responds to the speed increase.

2. Set an intent

Why do you practice walking meditation? It is helpful to establish your intention and come up with a statement that will help you stay focused on that intention.

If your mind starts to wander as you run, you can repeat the statement in your head to bring you back to the present.

This statement can be a positive affirmation – which is also a great way to calm down and relax. An example might be, “I am completely preoccupied with the present moment.”

3. Disposing of the earplugs

Listening to music or a podcast while running is fun. But it can be distracting if you’re trying to meditate.

Consider not using or using your earphones to listen to white noise or nature sounds. Try different things to find what works better to keep your mind clear.

4. Go outside

Running on a treadmill can make connecting with the present moment more challenging. And breathing fresh air can help with meditation.

Since you will be meditating, it is important to choose a place that is safe from obstacles and traffic. The goal isn’t to attune your surroundings, but you may be less alert if you focus on your body.

It is also important to stay in tune with your body and not ignore pain. This can lead to injury.

1. Paying attention to your body

Try to scan your body from head to toe as you run. Consider noticing any sensations as you do this.

You may want to focus on how the air feels when it enters your nose or how warm it comes out when you exhale. You can also focus on how the wind feels on your face or how your feet hit the pavement as you step forward. You may want to pay attention to that bead of sweat that’s about to roll off your forehead.

Try to spend at least a few minutes on each perception and sensation.

2. Trying to Avoid Judgment

It is helpful to practice observing your thoughts as they arise, without judging them. This means that you allow thoughts to arise, but then let them go.

If you’re focusing on your breath or body, try to do it without judging or labeling. For example, you can say “I’m breathing fast and shallow” instead of “I’m not breathing properly. I have to breathe more slowly.”

3. Practice Gratitude

Giving thanks can increase the benefits of running meditation.

Try to experience gratitude for being able to run freely, the things you see and hear, or how you do something for yourself.

Yes. For many people, running can lead to a sense of joy and relaxation, similar to meditation.

Mindful running can help you focus on your body’s movement and heart rate. This, in turn, can create a meditative state, even if you don’t do it on purpose.

Running releases chemicals in the body called endorphins that make you feel good. These chemicals can help:

  • reduce pain
  • boost your mood
  • improve your well-being

Meditation has been shown to do all of these things as well.

Running can help you focus more on your breathing and become more in tune with your body. It can also reduce stress and help you relax. Again, this is similar to the effects of meditation.

Running meditation is focusing on your body and breathing while you run. It’s a great way to reconnect with the present moment and take your running to the next level.

Practicing mindful running can help you manage stress, improve your mood, stay healthy, and enjoy the benefits of both running and meditation.

How do you meditate while running?

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