Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just Breathe

"It is impossible for us to break the law ourselves.  We can only break ourselves against the law."  This quote by Cecil B. DeMille is used in Chi Running to demonstrate our tendencies to flow with or fight against the laws of nature.  Obviously rolling (or running) with the laws of nature is a more comfortable, effortless and fun way to go.  I like the idea of getting swept away, utilizing the pull of gravity, and floating along in an invigorating run.  I've been trying to remember this concept in other areas of my life as well.  Whatever I resist or try to control usually doesn't work out as well, leaving me feeling frustrated and disappointed.  Lately I've been focusing on surrender, releasing my grip on my own life and watching what unfolds. 

I especially connected with the idea of tapping into my chi through correct breathing.  By utilizing belly breathing instead of shallow breathing, I can stimulate my body's parasympathetic system.  As a result, my body releases a beneficial cocktail of hormones (namely serotonin and beta-endorphin), lowers heart rate and blood pressure, improves circulation, and produces an overall calming effect and feeling of well-being.  Yes, please!  The book recommends running with my mouth closed as a way to determine my correct running pace.  If I'm unable to hold a conversation and breathe normally and/or breathe through my nose, then I should slow down my pace until I build up my aerobic capacity.  It sounds like an interesting homework assignment!  Building my awareness through experimentation is exactly what my blog is all about.  The experiment itself, not the result, is where my joy is found.

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