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How To Combine Meditation And Jogging

 Making Meditation and Jogging a Habit

In our modern society the busy world which we live in can let multi-tasking be difficult. The positive lifestyle choices that we want to make often get overrun by things like career, family, friends etc. I know this personally. I’ll often set plans to introduce a new habit, in this case meditation, into my daily routine. However, soon afterwards I’ll find that my daily grind just doesn’t allow it to “stick.” New behaviors are hard to adopt.  For me, however,my jogging schedule is very consistent.  It is thoroughly a part of my “ritual.” Believe me, there’s nothing more healthy than jogging and maintaining that peak physical performance.  But when it comes to my mental state, I’ve tried numerous times to set aside just a few minutes a day to meditation.  I just can not get it to stick. So I set out to see how I can combine meditation and jogging.

How to Combine A New Habit With An Old Habit: Jogging To Meditation

The technique of introducing a new habit to one of your existing habits is known as Habit Stacking. Habit stacking is a concept that came from the blogger James Clear in his book Atomic Habits.  Habit stacking is how I combined jogging with my meditation but with a twist.  It uses one (already automatic) habit as control over a new habit.  Say, for example, showering.  Nobody needs to think about showering (except for the stinky few.)  If you wanted to use the time it took you to shower to practice your singing skills, you’d pretty soon connect the two. Hence, every time you go for a jog, you start a meditative practice.

What is Meditation?

When you strip down meditation to its bare essentials, meditation really just means a sort of mindfulness:

 

definition of meditation
Here is an image of meditation that I took with my phone

If we are going to combine jogging and meditation then we should not think in terms of traditional meditation.  You know that image. When we think, traditionally, about meditation, we think: ancient & wise monk in a seated position with his/her eyes closed.  But in order to get a little bit more leverage over meditation I had to tweak the definition a little bit.   So based on the dictionary definition of meditation, meditation is: reflection and contemplation with a little bit of devout religious introspection. We can work with that…

How to Combine Jogging and Meditation

The practice is very simple.   It’s the consistent implementation that is the hard part.  It’s simply this:

  1.   1. Start running at your normal jogging pace
  2.   2. At the same time as you are jogging, fix your mind into a meditative head space.
  3.   3. Stay focused on your breathing and your footpath ahead of you.
  4.   4. Become hyper aware of your surroundings.  Let your peak physical state relieve the monkey  mind.

Things to Consider When Combining Jogging and Meditation

What Level of Intensity?

Obviously being able to turn jogging into a meditation takes a little bit of work to find your liking.  You have to find what works best for you!  Are you the kind of person who can fall into that deep, reflective state of mind through a rhythmic pattern? Or are you more like me and use jolts of intensity to channel the flow of endorphins on the cool down?  It’s all up to you.

Should you listen to Music?

If you choose to go the music route, there is a lot to choose from. I wouldn’t recommend anything that takes you out of your state of concentration. I’m able to tune music out altogether when I’m heavily focused, so for me it isn’t really an issue whatsoever.  Some people prefer, rather, to  leave the earbuds out and just focus on their breathing.  The repetitive cycling of air creates a very rhythmic sound which perhaps deepens concentration.

Clear Distractions

Set a designated path.  When you have a preset route to follow, you can conserve your attention to staying mindful. If you’re more comfortable you can use a treadmill.  A treadmill keeps you thoroughly in place, so you don’t need to coordinate your path.

Be Consistent

In order to get the full effects you have to maintain your daily routine.  Be consistent and refine your style.  A habit takes time to form and it is especially difficult when mixing two habits together.  Being able to meditate while jogging can be a bit of a hurdle.  However I encourage you to stay focused on the path.  You’ll find that as time goes on you’ll be able to find your ultimate state of mind quicker.

Benefits of doing the Jogging Meditation

  • You will achieve both a clear mind and a physically powerful body
  • The endorphins can actually give your meditation practice a boost
  • You’ve combined two important habits into one
  • You free up time to work on other things  (instead of dividing the habits apart)

There are many ways to integrate Meditation into your routine.  Jogging is just one way to combine two habits together into one.  If you have any other ways that we can be mindful/spiritual or make two habits into one please leave us a comment down below.

 

 

Written by Emilie Wasser

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