I get that yoga is all about breath. Connecting your mind, your breath, your body together. But I’m not a yogi (I’ve tried). I’m a runner.
As I’ve improved my fitness and as my schedule adjusts to the chaos of my kids underfoot, sometimes my runs are sprints. A couple of months ago I ran my first mile under 10 minutes in probably two decades. As I booked it, creeping up that treadmill speed, I felt like I was falling apart. Afraid of shooting myself off the back of the treadmill, I went to my breath.
In breath. Out breath. In rhythm with my steps and my arms. In breath. Out breath. My head magically cleared, my running now focused, I blew away my prior fastest time.
Lots of running websites give you directions about how best to breathe – I find when I worry about my breathing form too much I just end up oxygen deprived. Instead, I just concentrate on doing it naturally, not controlling it. Thinking about it and listening to it, across the din of my running playlist and whatever else might be going on at the time.
As I wrote about mental investment previously when doing my long runs, I often find that my breath becomes a foundation to pushing through mental blocks, or external distractions that threaten my motivation and focus.
One thin I have learned through my running adventure and my general exercise experience, your body knows what it needs to do. Only when you tell it to do something weird or when your psychosomatic reflexes are out of wack that things become unbalanced. You don’t win when you fight your body. You win when you push your body to be better and stronger.
I’m breathing, I’m running and I’m rocking it.