One of the best tips I ever learned as a dance major was how to meditate properly. Oftentimes, there’s a huge stigma attached to meditation and we knock it. “That’s too hippie for me” or “I don’t do yoga” are things I hear when I tell people that I meditate. I’m not saying it’s life’s adidote to your daily stress, but it can have an enormous impact on your stress reduction. Studies have proven that meditation reduces gray matter in the amygdala area of the brain. This region controls anxiety signals being released. being released.
Personally, I strive to add meditation to my running routine as part of an active recovery. It is a way to process my long runs, clear my mind after drowning my brain with music and relax my body. Sometimes, especially when I push for PR’s, my runs aren’t relaxing. They become more about stressing my body by pushing the limits.
So the best mediation that I’ve practiced involves a recovery yoga pose called Legs Up The Wall. It’s pretty self explanatory because you lie on the floor and just put your legs up on the wall. I’ll sometimes add a pillow under my lower back for added support. This pose helps “drain my legs” and return the blood flow back towards my heart post-run. My legs feel refreshed and renewed after I hold this pose for several minutes. That’s it– super easy!
I also try to clear my mind and take a few deep breaths. Sometimes my mind is full of math and calculating PR’s during my run. As my friend, Elsa, says, “let it go”. Since I’ve added this to my running practice, it’s really helped turn running into a mind/body practice for me. My legs feel better and my mind is refreshed after a post-run meditation.
Have you ever tried meditating?