Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Running with the Mind of Meditation book review

Running with the Mind of Meditation - Lessons for Training Body and Mind is a simple book presenting basic meditation instruction for runners. The author Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche - a Tibetan lama,  leader of Shambhala and runner - shows how anyone can easily learn to combine internal practice with physical movement.

This book is not specifically about trail running, but there is a short chapter about trails, hills and weather:
"In order not to trip or fall, your attention must be focused and, at the same time, you have to remain relaxed. This is a great way of being present."
There is an interesting observation that with the fluidity and freedom of downhills, a runner may not feel self-consciousness.


Here's Sakyong's 5 Tips for Running with the Mind of Meditation, an article about this book.

The meditation taught in this book is simply the process of being mindful of your breathing, being aware that you are thinking, and returning your attention to the breath. When you achieve this, your ability to focus on any other object or endeavor will be strengthened. 

There is much more to learn, of course. Sakyong breaks his training into four phases: 
  • tiger, the careful beginning phase of running and building of the base;
  • lion, the enjoyment of running and nature;
  • garuda, the outrageous phase of ultrarunning where we challenge ourselves;
  • dragon, where we are basing our activity on wisdom and compassion. 
It may sound easy, but combining meditation and running can be a bit tricky in practice. With Running with the Mind of Meditation your chances of success will probably be far better.


Will said...

looks interesting...always seeking some mental techniques. If we are pushing our bodies to 100% of capacity, we are only pushing our minds a fraction of that.

Trail Plodder said...

Ray Zahab says ultra running is 90% mental, and the other 10% is all in our heads!

According to Tim Noakes our brain controls how much we can push our bodies - usually a lot less than 100%. He claims "physical training is about training the brain to cope with discomfort".

Or like Rocky put it: "It ain't about how hard ya hit, it's about how much you can take and keep moving forward."