Chi running takes running, which is usually thought of as a physical activity, and turns it into a mind and body experience. Chi running founder, Danny Dreyer, took his experience in tai chi and combined it with his decades of running and racing experience to coach people in a method of running that is more relaxing for the mind and efficient for the body.
What Is Chi?
Chi is a life force, a form of energy that all people carry in their bodies. Many Eastern religions believe in the power of chi, or energy, and refer to it using different terminology. When your chi is stagnant or blocked, practitioners believe your body experiences a state of imbalance. It is believed that illness occurs in the body when the chi is not flowing properly. In chi running, your goal is to harness the power of your body’s chi to fuel your running efforts.
About Chi Running
Chi running draws on both your body and your mind. Part of the challenge of running for many people is that it can be strenuous as a fitness activity and lead to a variety of injuries. When you apply the chi running method, you focus on relaxing. You relax your mind and your mind tells your body to relax. You do not run faster because you have pushed your muscles to strengthen and move. You run energetically and efficiently because you have found a way to relax into your center, or abdomen, where much of your chi resides. You capitalize on this energy to fuel your entire body.
In chi running, your posture is very important. Rather than focusing on moving faster, you relax and concentrate on your alignment. When you form a straight line from head to toe, your line of energy is no longer broken. This allows the chi to flow and energize your body to move more quickly through the space.
The chi running technique calls for less muscle action and more of a holistic approach to achieving your goals. Instead of working hard to strengthen your calves and glutes, for example, you draw on the combined power of internal chi and proper relaxation and alignment, lean slightly forward and let gravity carry you forward.
Breathing in Chi Running
Breathing is an important part of chi running. You want to breathe deeply and fill your lungs completely. This is the same type of breathing that is prevalent in practices of meditation that help to clear your mind and energize you.
Chi running is a relaxing and efficient way to run. It leads to greater personal awareness and mental relaxation. You experience fewer injuries with chi running because you are in touch with your body and consciously avoiding the aggressive and athletic approaches that often push you to achieve your running goals at the expense of healthy muscles and joints. When you take the chi running approach, you enter a meditative zone while engaging your muscles in a way that is energizing.