The (Urban) Zen of Running


I had to look down at my sneakers. What brand was I wearing? I was so buoyant it was as if I was running on a cushioned surface rather than the unforgiving concrete pavement. My breath was smooth and free.

No revelation on the footwear. I was sporting the same Asics sneakers I’ve been wearing since my marathon days 20 years prior. When I hit my customary 4-mile mark, I kept running. I started tracking in my mind what was different. And then, I realized...

It was the unexpected benefit of my one-week Urban Zen training. Seven days of lying on bolsters, resting my legs on chairs and blocks, breathing, meditating and practicing Reiki. This easy run was a direct benefit of that training. A one-week restorative intensive transformed my run, and gave my perpetually contracted hamstrings some relief.

All this self-care, took conscious awareness. Discovering how to coax our nervous system from its evolutionary fight or flight response, to listen to our breath without the impulse to manipulate it, to feel with our hands, to look at each other through compassionate eyes—it took some new learning, some re-patterning.

I was surprised that the protocol in learning how to help others in pain required self-care for us first. It was an unexpected gift to take care of myself. My friends asked if I had changed my diet, or my skin regimen. I looked rested and clear to them. Those surprise gifts or always the sweetest. And getting the benefit of a more buoyant run, well, that was an added bonus.

Emma DeVitoComment