Running and Breath – How you can’t have one with out the other – Reflections of a Neophyte Runner

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Running and Breath – How you can’t have one with out the other – Reflections of a Neophyte Runner

17th July 2013 10:37 AM

Author: Emma Wilkins

Currently I am sat on the sofa writing on my iPad... which is an activity I’m sure many people may be able to identify with.

The iPad or smart phone or flat screen tv that sucks you into it, absorbing attention but really just contributing to a deficit of time in our day. I read an article recently (needless to say it was on my iPad) where a journalist had created more time in her day by consistently setting her alarm  five minutes early over a period of time. By the end of this she had created a whole extra hour in the morning where she was able to attend to necessities whether that be answering emails  or doing some housework but the emphasis was that she was accomplishing and ticking of things that had been on a  ‘to do’ list for a very long time. The impact of this was that she felt calmer, contented, more motivated and energised and felt as if she had more time for herself. In her lunch breaks or commute to work,where she would usually be multi-tasking, she now has time to read for herself or just contemplate... or just breath. I remember reading this article and being inspired... I thought I want to get me some of that.Though the thought of setting my alarm any earlier than 6.00 am filled me with horror... absolute disgust in fact.... I’m definitely  a four snooze jump in the shower and leave the house with wet hair kinda gal. But one thing has changed this... running, oh actually two things: running AND breathing.

I have recently completed a six week beginners running course with The Bridge Centre’s very own Jo Taylor. For someone who got mocked at school when attempting any kind of running but whom teachers would consistently pick for the 1500 metres on sports day and whom would consistently come last year after year... me a runner?! NO! But actually... she writes tentatively... yes... it’s appears there may be a burgeoning runner inside breaking free. Slowly increasing the time frame from 1 minute intervals upwards, this gentle progression meant my body and mind were able to adapt slowly to the shock of running and a shock it was. My hips and back were objecting profusely. But with some gentle persuasion and attention through yoga stretches, they accepted I wasn’t giving up. The end result... hip and back pain I have been progressively struggling with over a couple of years has infact gone. Physically I feel fitter, stronger and more energised than I’ve felt in a long time. Emotionally I feel more balanced and motivated. 6.00 am alarm... pah....willingly I found myself setting it for 5.30 am in order to start my day with a gentle  run. Why? Because I love the light stillness that these summer mornings offer. I find that with no-one around I get half an hour or so of me time to run and breathe.

Reading my very first Runner’s World magazine, I’ve made a connection between the holistic practices I do and my new found love affair with running – breath and energy. In an article by Budd Coates  called Running on Air: the Art of Breathing, he explores the connection to the Eastern philosophies of breathing and how a rhythmic breathing pattern whilst running can actually prevent injury and promote mindfulness through the calming and focussing effect of the breath work itself. He states that in Hinduism, “Yoga teaches that breath is a life-giving force, drawn into the body through diaphragmatic –or belly – breathing.” He says that they key is to exhale on alternate foot  strikes as you run. Working your diaphragm to its full potential also allows your lungs to take in the largest amount of air... the more air you inhale , the more oxygen is available to work your muscles. For someone who has also been facing a recent diagnosis of asthma, I’ve found an improvement in my peak flow measurements as a result of taking up this sport. As a student of Infinite Chi Yoga who has taken a break from the training course and personal yoga practice, I’ve found that I’ve been re-engaging with this  too... initially out of necessity to avoid injury but now out of an increased desire to link the mind,body and spirit practices – and of course deepen the breath work running has activated. I’m anticipating the benefits here could be endless... so next step... I’m aware that like any love affair initial desire may wain (early morning wake up call in winter conditions, well I’m just anticipating a retreat under the duvet!) However there is a commitment now... and it bottles down to this: I’m just loving the way it makes me feel. When Jo offers her next beginners running course... just book it... I’m glad I did!

Emma – Sound and Reiki Therapist, Student Infinite Chi Yoga Practioner and Runner!

For more information on Budd Coates :

Tags: Beginners Running, Sound Healing, Tai Chi

Treatments: Sound Healing, Tai Chi, Beginners Running

Practitioners: Emma Wilkins, Jo Taylor

The views expressed in these blogs are those of the blog authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Bridge Centre for Natural Health.

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