Monday, September 20, 2010

marathon meditations

i ran a marathon yesterday. i was feeling good, proud, happy, achieved, ...and a little stiff today. i talked to my sister this morning during our weekly skype yoga session about the race, and she told me that she feels like she runs a marathon everyday. she teaches preschool.

we all run marathons every day, don't we? whether it's working long hours on a project; racing against a deadline; or just feeling the pressure to achieve something that seems impossible. i practiced a million methods of positive thoughts while running the marathon, from "i can do anything!" to "my shoes are magic and have a special force that propel me forward!" to "if i finish this in under 4 hours, i never have to run another one!" and, of course, "i'm wearing my sister-superhero sash; i can just fly to the finish line!"

i talked to my sister about these things, and about a lovingkindness meditation, to offer that kindness back to herself and to help in her feelings of compassion and happiness. at the end of our practice this morning, we practiced a lovingkindness meditation from this month's Yoga Journal that says "friendliness toward those who are happy; compassion toward those who are not; equanimity toward all."

all day i thought about the meditation we shared, and tried to keep practicing it throughout my day. on the train on my way to teach yoga tonight, i began reflecting back on what got me through the race, and how i can use those same techniques in life.

i took these thoughts with me to the yoga class i taught tonight. i used the example of my sister's "marathon" and my own as the struggles we encounter every day to set an intention for mindfulness for the class: mindfulness we could use off the mat to combat stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. we began class by practicing mindfulness, and i offered gentle encouragement to return to these thoughts throughout class. amazingly, i saw my class learning and listening today. at one point, we were on our bellies resting after a reminder of mindfulness, and i offered the 45 students an opportunity to kick it up--to take an optional vinyasa if they were feeling it. not a soul moved. there was peace, rest, and beautiful stillness. i was in awe at the energy, focus, and mindfulness we had created during our practice.

at the end of class, i used the mindfulness meditation from Yoga Journal this month that focused on the stability of the individual through swirling thoughts: a mountain surrounded by clouds and storms. upon breathing in, we meditated on being the mountain; upon exhaling, we meditated on the stability we possessed. i felt the synchronicity and harmony of a class in tune with themselves and each other as we meditated and closed. it was beautiful!

on the way home from my yoga teaching tonight, i was posting about and reading all the nice wishes on my wall related to my marathon--heartwarming and truly an example of others showing "friendliness toward those who are happy." i felt blessed to have friends that can give such beautiful offerings. seeing this outpouring of "likes" and comments on my status updates set a great example for me.

my day full of reflections on marathons, meditation practice, experiencing beauty and accepting it from friends, ...and making it through a marathon of a day of my own... prove to me that marathons are constantly thrown at us. and that we can probably meditate our way through any of them.


  1. You may like to read some of the works of Sri Chinmoy - or even enter a Sri Chinmoy race.. have a look on the web. It's all about transcending self through running. That's what my 24-hr run was all about. If you can run a marathon then you can run for 24 hours. It's all about the attitude you take to the physical discomfort. The entire battle is in the mind. Well done again! LHS x

  2. I'm not really sure how to fully express my awe, respect, and excitedness for you, but Go Spring!! That is so so awesome. I love that you've tied running into yoga and your blog, all are amazing, just like you. Please keep writing. Love you,