iSportsAnalysis are going to be serialising “Running Sussed”, a book by ex international runner Julia Chi Taylor. In today’s chapter Julia will be talking about running as a meditation. Thank you Julia Chi for sharing your wisdom and insights.
It is a book to open people to the ‘how to run” aspect – or “how to become a runner“ and yes, definitely those who haven’t run much and a interested to follow a path of least resistance
But – it also has a philosophical aspect that means that people who have run for years can get something from it – some deeper insight or connection to themselves through the art of running.
Julia has been running all of her life, it has informed how she has chosen to live from a very young age and has been the bedrock of her ‘practice’ both physical and spiritual – in fact it has become her spiritual practice through the mirror of seeing herself reflected back in her running endeavours.
Julia achieved her first international vest at the age of 19 and went on to run at international level for the next 13 years.
Her most notable achievements were winning the Dublin City Marathon, being placed 7th woman in the London Marathon ( 3rd British) in a time of 2.36.31 and competing in the Commonwealth Games Marathon in 1986.
Chapter 1: Running – a meditation on the move
Everyone can run, as children we ran, we all ran. A child doesn’t walk, it runs. So once we all ran and we all knew how to run – so this book is simply going to teach you what you already know.
Perhaps it is going to re-teach you, maybe you have forgotten how to move your body, how to be free in it, how to trust it, how to recognize the imbalances and the pain as something to be addressed not something to be feared, the shortness of breath, the discomfort when you begin again to learn to run and do as you always did and find out all you always knew.
The body holds all the wisdom and running is a truly wonderful way to connect – to re connect at the deepest level and express yourself through the whole of your body
Running asks that you use your whole body, and so in doing this it means that it teaches you to listen and to learn, so together we can embark on a running journey, step onto the running path and in travelling down it find our way to greater clarity in mind body and soul.
In learning to run you will develop a deeper peace within, movement allows the mind to process in a different way, it accesses the right brain rather than the left and so this means that you are more in touch with your intuition, with your heart and with your emotions, so much more is shared on the run, as people are more likely to be open and truthful and speak in a way they don’t usually and a solitary run has the capacity to make problems of the world seem insignificant because if you are out with nature, even in a city, the sky is above you and you are subject to the elements whether you like it or not. When the mind is thinking in a different way, then insights and answers can come unaided and even if they don’t the stress of the day can leave and there is a different perspective when you return to your everyday life. Movement allows the body to release the tension it has stored and breathing deeply can massage the hara which is the centre of life and death two inches above the naval.
The sense of wellbeing that running brings has seen a rise in the number of people out running as a normal and natural thing to do, since marathon running became popular through the 80’s – people who hadn’t run since school days started to realize that they could do some extraordinary way beyond what they had ever dreamed. Running brings with it an idea of limitless possibility ‘if I do this I can do anything’! Stretching the body to do more than you thought possible, also allows you to access mental and emotional strengths and to discover latent talents and develop new skills.
The benefits of running as so far reaching, the mental and emotional wellbeing that comes with regular running means that self esteem rises and a sense of purpose changes the tapestry of life, taking it out of the everyday to a path with destinations in mind which stretch you to grow and develop and find out if what you think is possible.
The physical benefits that come with this increased well being are manifold;
Increased cardiovascular fitness, better circulation, improved muscle tone, better posture, weight loss, clearer skin, better elimination and swifter processing of food, improved bone density; It is also paradoxically a very social sport – something that is so individual and relies so much on each person’s motivation discipline and desire to keep going and is a very personal experience which has united many, as groups join together to extend their running going further and faster than they ever dreamed.
In short we were born to run, it is a natural movement and it will show us very quickly where we are out of alignment as the imbalances show up quickly and cry out to be addressed. Whereas without running they might not have been noticed for a while, or they were more livable with; running asks that re-align, become balanced and free in our movement and become strong in the core so that we run smoothly and swiftly.
About the Author: Julia Chi Taylor
Julia is an ex international distance runner.
In the late 70’s all through the 80’s and into the early 90’s she competed regularly for England and GB at distances from 5k to Marathon. Some of her best performances include winning the 1985 Dublin Marathon and finishing 7th woman (3rd British woman) in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31 where she was selected to run in the Commonwealth Games.
She still competes now as a master over 55, regularly winning her age group in races around the world. She’s was also part of the winning team for the national master X country championships in March this year, 2016.
Julia has coached and mentored others to achieve their dreams in sport and life for the past forty years!
Read about her barefoot adventures: www.SolesJourney.com
Watch Julia chart her barefoot journey all over the world: www.SolesJourneyTV.com