By the end of this article you are going to be doing meditation while running every single day.
Because science just proved that when you run and meditate at the same time, some seriously amazing things happen.
We already know from sports psychology that there are amazing benefits of meditation for athletes.
But absolutely everyone can benefits from running and meditating at the same time.
Breaking scientific research shows that doing meditation while running could be the number one best thing for your mind and body.
I’ve previously written about how important it is to do movement meditations [read my guide to movement meditations].
Running and meditating at the same time is arguably the best type of movement meditation that there is. Period.
What Science Says About Practicing Meditation While Running
Scientists recently researched the effect that meditating while running has on depression. Of course we already know that we can use meditation to stop depression.
But running and meditating at the same time is even more powerful. Practicing meditation while running boosts your levels of happiness and, it turns out, cures depression arguably better than medication does.
Tracey Shors is the professor of exercise at Rutgers. She says:
“Scientists have known that both [running and meditation] alone can help with depression. This new study shows that when done together, there is a striking improvement in depressive symptoms along with increases in synchronized brain activity.”
Tracey and her team wanted to be certain of the result of this important study. So they took 52 participants, 22 of whom are currently suffering from depression. Over the course of 8 weeks those 52 people meditated for 40 minutes and did 30 minutes exercise. The researchers then tested the results.
Tracey is pleased to announce that those 22 depression sufferers experienced significant improvements after the 8 weeks. They had 40% reduction in their depression symptoms. The participants who were mentally healthy already also showed major improvements in their concentration and happiness.
Brandon Alderman, is the lead author of the study. He believes that meditation and running together might strengthen neural mechanisms in the brain.
Makes sense, given that we know that meditation stops depression, why not combine it with running.
“We know from animal studies that effortful learning, such as is involved in learning how to meditate, encourages new neurons to mature in the hippocampus,” says Alderman.
This means that practicing meditation while running increases the number of new brain cells in the volunteer’s hippocampus, and helps keep those neurons alive and healthy.
Here’s how to practice meditation while running
Take a look at my guide to walking meditation because practicing meditation while running is very similar.
To do meditation while running, follow these steps:
- Before you start to run take 20 mindful breaths
- Do your warm-up stretched like you’d do tai chi (mindfully moving in slow ways
- Start running. Bring your focus to your legs.
- Feel the movement in your legs and let your consciousness sit on that sense of movement.
- You will find it helpful to count breaths while running (one count = both a left and a right pace).
- You can switch to an open meditation by meditating on the environment while you run
- Feel free to sprint and meditate on the energy. Obviously stop if you get out of breath.
- If you get tired, slow down and meditate on your breath while jogging lightly (I do this with my eyes closed personally, but for safety reasons you might want to keep them open or hold your gaze at 45 degrees like you do when practicing Zen meditation)
- I personally sometimes put my hands in jnana mudra (the basic meditation hand gesture with your thumb touching your first finger and the other fingers held out straight)
- When you finish running, meditate on the sensation of energy in your body And that is how to practice meditation while running.
- If you enjoy movement meditations like this, you might like to try Dance Meditation Technique too!
It’s A Big Deal!
If you have been suffering from depression, scientists recommend that you try meditating while running. You already know how to run. And you can learn much more about meditation in our guide to meditation techniques.
And if you are not depressed but are looking to make your brain stronger, meditate while running, because it’s one of the best things you can do for your mind.Leave a comment and remember to subscribe to our newsletter.