Hello friends! Most of you may not be knowing this but I had started my blog with the idea of a fitness blog(you can read some initial posts related to fitness by selecting ‘Gym and workouts’ in the category section). Later on it became a home for my thoughts and feelings. I have not posted anything related to fitness for a long time.
My friend Daniela who blogs at http://theillegalgal.wordpress.com/ shares a passion for running just like me and we both have experienced something called as ‘flow’ several times. I thought it would be a good idea to ask her for a guest post and allow my readers to understand about the flow associated with running.
This concept is quite complex to understand for those who have never experienced it. It is a feeling. You may explain a thought, but feelings are to be felt and expressed, they can’t be explained. So it becomes very necessary for you to watch the videos linked to the article. This post is just an expression of feeling and also attempts to make people aware of this interesting phenomena. I hope it encourages you to start running and make a commitment towards your fitness goals. Once exercising becomes an obsession, you are not just following a routine, you are revealing the strong side of your character by feeding that obsession! Happy reading!
Last year I started running at the beach next to my flat in Barcelona. What started as a way to stay fit, it became a passion. Each time I ran I could have a sense of inner peace and clarity, I could keep running without feeling my body nor hearing my thoughts, until my notion of time and space vanished just as the people around me. It was amazing!
It was the flow.
According to the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, to be in flow feels like:
- Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
- A sense of ecstasy-of being outside everyday reality.
- Great inner clarity-knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
- A sense of serenity-no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
- Timelessness-thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.
- Intrinsic motivation-whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.
I can tell you from my own experience that to be in flow is a wonderful sensation. I only get to feel it almost every time I run or write, but I’ve realized that it is possible to be in flow voluntarily. If you want to try it while running, these are my recommendations:
- Run without goals. Forget about the time or distance you think you need to run. Just run.
- Get lost. If you run within the city, be an explorer. Don’t follow a path, make one. You’ll discover new places in your own city, even after living there for a decade.
- Don’t think, just breathe. I know this is hard, but if you start thinking on something, try thinking about your breath. Stop the mental chat and control your thoughts by telling yourself “inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale…” Focus your attention on your breath and in the words following it.
- Build your own playlist. The day I started to REALLY LISTEN to the music I heard was the day I discovered I could control my flow. As with following your breath, if you focus your attention on the sounds of the music that motivates you to keep running, you will have the sense of getting into the music, of knowing the notes as if you were the musician.
Not everybody likes jogging. In fact, most of my friends, including the sporty ones, hate it. However, I highly recommend you to give it a try just for the possibility of having the experience of being in flow.
I could say that my life changed since I started running and discovered what meant to be in flow. I don’t exaggerate if I tell you that my perspective about life, people and things changed dramatically when I experienced what was like to let the ego fall away. Not only my health or my body shape improved, but also my mood. I started to see life through a more positive glass, gaining control of my emotions, feeling powerful, and having a sense of knowing that I could lead my life in any direction I wanted.
For me, running has become an irreplaceable activity. I know that no matter what my circumstances are, I won’t stop running, because now I know that I will make it only if I run.