I came out of the womb with a very intense hatred for running. I have never, ever "enjoyed" it, and found it hard enough to tolerate the bit that they made us do back when I played school sports. I had asthma as a kid and suffer from joint pain now, and this combination has further reinforced the dislike and insecurity that surrounds the most natural form of exercise known to man.
Well, I stand corrected. Because now, I enjoy running and I look forward to my relationship with running and the growth that's to come. It's very similar to yoga and spirituality in many ways....
-If done improperly, you can hurt yourself. If done properly, it heals and strengthens the body.
-With a great teacher, anything is possible.
-Start out small!!! Just as you wouldn't start a meditation practice by sitting for an hour, you don't start running by pushing your body to the breaking point or running 5k!
-Slowly, Slowly. Shanti, Shanti.
-It's about having FUN and feeling GOOD
-It is a tool to help move past the conversations and chaos of the mind, and to tune into our highest Self.
And since Fredrik was such a great sport about being open to my spirituality ramblings, I figured that it was only fair to become a bit more open to his passion for running. As he phrased it, "I don't want to teach you to run, I want to teach you to LOVE to run!". He said, "You run so long as you're happy and enjoying it. But you never run farther than you enjoy. When you finish you want to feel content and excited for running the next day". And so, my running career has begun. We practiced a few laps on the beach, and he critiqued my style so that I wouldnt be hurting my joints or exhausting my body. He gave small but precise instructions that made an instant difference in how my body was feeling and helped me to transform twenty six years of anger towards this form of exercise. The lesson was 20 minutes in total and it was spot.on.
A bit that I took away from my lesson was...Run because it's easy and simple and fun. Don't push yourself. Put your running shoes in the bin. Embrace bare feet. Feel your toes extend and grip the earth beneath them. Feel a softness in your knees and calves. Keep your chest lifted and neck long, with your shoulders down and back. Use your arms to your advantage by keeping your elbows tucked in tight towards the body and move the arms (up and down, not side to side) without moving the upper body. Short steps as you glide along your path, landing with your foot underneath of your body, not in front of it. Most importantly, run with a smile on your face. Because life is good. Running is fun. And your feet can take you to the most beautiful places that you could never have imagined.