Chi Running: Key Elements And Benefits

Chi running is jogging with more soul. Simone Scott elucidates the advantages of this peaceful exercise approach.

Think of running and what comes to mind? Gasping for air? Bruised and battered feet? Recollections of struggling through fields during dreaded cross-country races for school? Or perhaps sensations of inner peace? Or feelings of moving with grace and ease?

Many utilize running as a way to unwind and practice mindfulness. A lot of people find it challenging to meditate classically – sitting still and closing their eyes -, so they decide that meditation is not something they can do.

The wonderful thing is that other options are becoming more widespread, with “mindful running” and “moving meditation” gaining popularity amongst many.

But what is mindful running? It’s referred to as chi running and embraces a more mindful way of running. The idea is that if you ease up on yourself, running can be more enjoyable and can be maintained over a longer period.

Consider it an exciting combination of Asian knowledge and Western exercise science: utilizing the fundamentals of Eastern workouts, like tai chi, when jogging.

This entails being cognizant of the activity: such as detecting the feelings as the feet meet the ground, sensing the thighbones as they glide in the pelvic sockets, concentrating on correct posture by elongating the spine, and becoming aware of inhalation and exhalation.

Lucy Jeczalik, an instructor for mindful running located in London, describes an instance of a patron who employed consciously running to control her tension levels. When I began working with Carla, her breathing was not regular and was too speedy. Consequently, before attempting jogging, we focused on utilizing her breath to reconnect her with her body.

Having the correct breathing technique is very important in numerous types of meditation because the act of inhaling and exhaling rapidly and deeply can have a calming effect on the nervous system straight away.

A change to the parasympathetic system – sometimes referred to as the “relax and digest” state – causes pleasant feelings of calmness to occur.

Mindful running involves keeping a close eye on your breath, striving to keep it rhythmical and regular.

We can be aware of when our breathing becomes more rapid or shallower, so we know when it is necessary to slow down, even walking if necessary until our respiration resumes to a comfortable, natural rate.

Lucy goes on to say that paying attention to breathing can be a way of showing how the body deals with stress in any form, be it physical, emotional, or mental and is a traditional way to practice mindfulness and meditation. I think that it is particularly beneficial to use breathwork with clientele, as it not only unifies the body and mind but is also a useful measure of achieving peacefulness and authority.

What next for Carla? We concentrated on keeping our breathing even, slowly advancing from walking to jogging. The results were incredible. Soon, she felt a sense of strength and confidence in her breath and body positioning for the duration of the session. This is referred to as the flow state, which is the highest state of mindfulness.

Focused running does not only mean noticing the bodily feelings we have as we exercise, but it also embraces the environment surrounding us.

Paying attention to noise; the joyful melodies of birds singing, the pleasing noise of leaves rustling beneath us, or the comforting feeling of a soft wind against our skin.

We are often so wrapped up in our own minds or wanting to move quickly onto the next thing that we don’t even recall what we did or where we have been.

Moving at a conscious rate allows us to gain complete awareness of the current moment, making sure that we take advantage of everything and appreciate every stride.

The consequences of this can strongly influence our daily lives, as becoming more comfortable bodily gives us the ability to handle demanding circumstances more effectively. The standard of our slumber is enhanced, as is our digestion, and there is even an impact on having clearer skin and feeling better in general.

Patrick Karantinos, an educator and practitioner of tai chi and mindfulness who is based in Athens, has been refining his technique in Chinese methods for two decades.

He has been exposed to many different experiences, giving him the knowledge that using the rules of tai chi when in motion can make any strenuous activity, for example running, a smoother experience.

He suggests staying away from tensing up your muscles, staying relaxed in your body, being mindful of your breathing, and being conscious of where you are in the present moment. Using these concepts when you jog will make the activity more fluid and less draining for the body. In conclusion, you reap a great deal more than a basic aerobic exercise. Pay attention to yourself and discover a spontaneous way of moving. If you comprehend what running can do for you then it can become a source of pleasure.

Running with mindful awareness appeals to those of all backgrounds, inviting many who wouldn’t define themselves as runners to partake in a physical activity that immediately brings on a sense of cheerfulness and contentment that is sustained over time.

Experienced runners have shifted to this new method, foregoing their usual stress-inducing devices to appreciate the feeling of running, instead of relying on technology to measure the results.

Key Elements Of Chi Running

This running technique requires the entire body to work together and move in harmony as part of one continuous, efficient action. Central to this technique is awareness. The runner should remember to include all 5 of these elements in their running style.

1. Run Tall

Maintaining proper posture is an essential aspect of chi running. The head, shoulders, hips, and feet should be aligned in an orderly fashion.

When the feet hit the ground in a place that is too far in front of the body, it disrupts the straight line and thus acts as an impediment.

Danny Dreyer compares typical non-chi running to operating a car with one foot pushing on the gas pedal while the other one is pushing on the brake- it is not a very effective way to run.

2. Lean Forward

To effectively practice chi running, one must lean forward while running.

Typically, most runners lean forward by bending at their waist. Rather than pivoting from the hips, the forward bend should originate from the ankles.

The runner is essentially sliding forward as they run, keeping their body leaning in a forward position. It is said that this made it take less effort to jog and that it increased the effectiveness of chi running.

3. Land On The Mid-Foot

Landing on the mid-foot avoids the runner heel striking. In chi running, when one’s ankle joint touches the pavement before the hips, this is known as heel striking.

Jogging with heel contact results in an abrupt force that is believed to produce extra pressure on the joints and muscles and can lead to an increased chance of the jogger becoming injured.

Instead of landing on your heel when you run, having a mid-foot landing decreases the shock and allows you to keep going without any interruption. The runner can move more fluidly and their performance is more economical.

The idea is that the runner can increase their speed while expending less energy.

4. Run From Your Core

Chi running involves keeping the pelvis level, instead of having it tilted forward as is usually expected when running.

Maintaining the hips at equal heights necessitates activating the core muscles as well as having an understanding of how the pelvis is lined up. Chi runners imagine themselves leaning against a wall with their lower back flat and level against it to maintain correct pelvic alignment.

A somewhat upright pelvis is designed to give the runner a quicker step and a faster pace and is said to stop them from extending their legs too far out in front and landing on their heels.

5. Relax

This approach to running does not correspond to what most of us typically assume would be the most efficient technique for increasing speed. Generally, if you want to increase your speed, you put forth more effort.

Nevertheless, intensifying one’s efforts leads to an increase in potential stress in the arms, neck, shoulders, and back. The concept behind this is that a great deal of hard work is necessary and it might even lead to the squandering of valuable energy that could be put to better use.

The goal of chi running is to enhance your speed by being as relaxed as possible. This is energy-efficient and stops you from creating difficulties for yourself.

Desiree Linden, a famous marathon runner, has a motto of “Relax, relax, relax.” Relax, relax, relax.” Maybe she’s a chi runner?

The benefits of Chi running

1. Improved mental health

Investigations conducted by Harvard recently demonstrate that taking part in mindfulness can have a meaningful consequence on raising our psychological and emotional health.

Engaging in any activity with a mindful attitude involves concentrating on the present moment, rather than becoming overwhelmed with thoughts on the past or upcoming events. This allows us to handle circumstances from a more tranquil position.

2. Sweet dreams

Running mindfully can help to improve sleep. Rather than physical exertion that causes fatigue, running with mindfulness calms the nervous system. This has a softer effect on the human body’s internal clock – our circadian rhythm – which allows us to drift off to a more peaceful slumber.

3. Physical health

Runners who pay attention to the sensations of their bodies can benefit from exercising without any of the drawbacks.

Avoiding discomfort in your joints and muscles can be achieved by running with awareness, taking note of when to slow down, keeping a good posture and correct breathing methods. Running with mindfulness can help to control your metabolism: which is wonderful for maintaining a good weight.

4. Benefits for experienced runners

People who have been running for an extended length of time can still see added advantages. Awareness of posture improves form. Instead of straining their bodies beyond their capabilities, runners stay within the safety limits that help prevent physical harm. Awareness of good breathing leads to running more efficiently.

5. Reduces your risk of injury

For any runner, it is always a possibility that they could get hurt. However, applying this type of running is said to greatly reduce your risk of being injured.

By utilizing a forward lean, mid-foot strike, neutral pelvis, and relaxed body, a runner can utilize a neutrally efficient form, which decreases the possibility of sustaining an injury.

The concept is that applying this method will decrease the strain on your joints.

6. It is natural

According to Danny Dreyer, chi running is nothing new. Kids tend to run in the same fashion as the principles of chi running suggest.

Going without shoes tends to prompt people to run in the same manner. When people opt to go without shoes while running, usually the consequence is a less forceful landing of the heel, lighter footsteps, and a higher performance running pattern.

7. It improves your posture

The technique of running emphasizes proper posture, with a heavy emphasis on core muscle strength.

We currently devote a large part of our day to sitting and working on a computer. This does absolutely nothing to help our posture.

Chi running puts an emphasis on having a strong core and good posture, making it a beneficial contrast to leading a non-active life.

Danny Dreyer has said that utilizing this type of running could be an effective solution to numerous issues with the back and core, such as hyperkyphosis, hyperlordosis, tight hip flexors, and weak core muscles.

It is suggested that practising chi running can help you have better posture, which in turn can lessen neck and back discomfort.

8. Makes you faster

The theory that your biomechanics won’t cause detriment when you put into practice this method signifies that your force is being employed successfully.

By investing all of your energy into propelling yourself forward, you will naturally be able to travel at a quicker pace without extra strain.

Side notes

Chi running is a type of running technique that has been derived from the traditional Chinese exercise of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art which aims to create and circulate chi, the energy associated with life, throughout the body. Chi running strives to provide a path for the chi to travel within your body by encouraging a light, balanced, and unbiased running form.

Chi running is created to improve running performance while at the same time reducing the chances of injury. It is claimed to facilitate a more natural running approach that follows the laws of physics, biomechanics, and nature instead of countering them.


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