My main passion today is Yoga but my first passion was running.
When I was younger, at school I secretly enjoyed those long cold cross country runs over the frost, crisp ground into fields and past hedgerow, my peers would be moaning but my heart would be pounding I couldn’t wait for that feeling of freedom in mind and body..Today, on my yoga mat I relate to this freedom to a concept of being unplugged, a practice of self love and an over powering feeling of gratitude.
30 years on, running still has that same appeal – what is that makes it so special ?
As I get into stride, I connect with my breathe, this breath connects with my mind and the mind connects with this very moment and nothing else matters… past or future; any thoughts whether they be of anger, hurt, frustration, those unanswered questions, the burdensome complexities of life that can shroud you like a dark cloud, intoxicating and suffocating life out, fall away piece by piece, dissolving into insignificance… then – life pours back in…
Ask yourself ? Do you have a routine or practice that allows you to feel that freedom. I believe it is an an experience that takes you to your true Self, beautiful, pure, simple, its the Divine in you; its like no other, when nothing else matters other than that very moment. It is powerful, like your going to burst out of your skin! All senses are connected… Then that thought .. its so good to be alive !!!
You might relate to this in a different way, through the warmth of a passionate embrace, a soft kiss maybe analysing the beauty of a red rose… Maybe you find your path into freedom through music or dance, painting, writing, reading poetry or a combination of these things, there’s no set formula ..
In class I recall my Guru telling us that we should keep a dairy, this practice is known Svadhyaya in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra : “Study thy self, discover the divine” II.44 . He explained we come to class with preconceived ideas and for absolute no reason we would feel certain barriers or animosity to those around us and that during our day we would should be aware of our thoughts and that there is a pattern to how we think at certain times in the day, what seemed like a notion was pretty much true. As I have gone deeper into my practice, I realised the reality of what was unfolding on the mat, certain triggers would set my mind spiralling down to those negative thoughts, they would be menacing, dragging me down like a lead weight into dark depths, drowning, falling … I had previously used my running to let go of that darkness, my yoga practice on the other hand has allowed me let go of it completely!
On the mat , my Guru will remind us to observe our thoughts, the practice at Total Yoga is undoubtedly rigorous, after being reminded I tell myself that the thoughts going in my head really do not matter, and even in the midst of feeling any irritation, particularly during Naukasana there is appreciation for the sweetness of the moment, a sense of gratitude comes to mind. I know this now to be the practice of mindfulness bringing my awareness into the present moment, noticing and accepting what is happening right now without judgement or reaction.
Mindfulness is something that we can cultivate and bring into everyday life and having learnt this on the mat, I don’t need to run it out! … having said all this, running still plays a large part in my fitness regime.
At Total Yoga, we encourage running as part our wellness, come join us and run before Yoga on Saturday mornings.
Author: Jagdeep Dosanjh-Badwal – Yoga Teacher , Passionate Runner