Here are the thoughts for this week’s yoga classes:
I’ve been enjoying the book Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham, a Tibetan spiritual leader who also happens to have run over a dozen marathons including Boston. He teaches meditation, and this particular book is about the powerful relationship between running and meditation, explaining how to begin a meditative practice in your daily life, and then a few ideas to try during runs. His meditation center in the Colorado mountains offers 3-day running and meditation retreats- I might have to splurge on this someday!
The concept I’ve been most thinking about lately is in chapters 5 & 6 about taming the horse, or the concept of the windhorse, the balance between wind and mind. It’s a really fascinating eastern way to explain the western idea of a runner’s high and mental clarity that comes during and after a long run.
“The breath is like a horse, and the mind is like the rider. When the breath is calm and in control, it is much easier to access the mind”
“The horse represents wind and movement. On its saddle rides a precious jewel. That jewel is our mind…tangible and translucent.”
“Worry increases the movement of wind. The more erratic the wind, the more it moves throughout the body. We experience it as agitated, discursive thinking and emotional highs and lows, which translate into stress-blocked energy. When we run, that wind begins to settle down, and the blockages begin to clear.”
“If we haven’t trained our mind, the wild horse takes us wherever it wants to go. It’s not carrying a jewel on its back- it’s carrying an impaired rider. The horse itself is crazy, so it is quite a bizarre scene.”
“When the mind is running everywhere, it is less available, and we feel tired, heavy, and stressed.”
“The mental clarity brought about by physical exercise is temporary. When the horse has more energy, it resumes running around. Then we have to go for another run, exhausting the mind again…while meditation allows for cumulative benefit to occur.”
“Ultimately both the mind and the body are things we should cherish. The body is the magical horse, and the mind is the magical jewel.”
Personally, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Guess I figured out why I’ve loved running so much for so long! My mind and life go so fast, so erratically, thinking a million exhausting thoughts and plans at any given second, that when I run and the winds calm down, I love that mental peace that comes as a result, and I crave that clarity. I’m looking forward to more meditative and quiet times ahead of me, to continue to feel the peace and calm that comes during and from running, but to now learn to prolong that incredible feeling and access it anytime.
**artwork is by Marjolaine Robert