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Breathe Your Way Into Your Best Run

Unite body and mind through your breath for a productive morning workout

Balance is the unity between our mind and body. Our bodies respond to the way that our minds feel. It’s our bodies’ way of telling us that something isn’t right; something is out of order. The problem is that most of us listen to our mind and the body suffers.

It’s one of those mornings for me. My mind is trying to tell me to hit the snooze button, stay in bed, and rest. This after I’ve just enjoyed a good seven hours’ sleep the night before. It’s in these moments that I’m prone to do the complete opposite from how my mind is attempting to describe the morning to me. This is the moment I realize I must get out of bed and begin moving through my day—“moving” being a key word here.

My mind has started the day with an attempt to disconnect me from my body. So, first on the agenda is engaging in the practice that cultivates unity and peace within. I begin with my breath. Breathing (or pranayama in yoga) is the tool that “yokes” the body/mind connection.With each task, I deepen my inhale and lengthen my exhale, developing a nice steady rhythm of breath. The pace of my breath is just as important as the length and depth.

On this particular morning, I’m starting my day with a run. I begin with a standard breath-based warm-up. I remain focused on the length, depth, and pace of my inhale and exhale as I nasal breathe diaphragmatically. The breath is my natural furnace, heating my body up from the inside out and sending fresh oxygen to my heart and lungs. It’s only me, the sound of my breath, my feet hitting the ground, and the snow capped mountains in the distance.

The beginning of my run sets the tone for my experience. My mind is onboard with systemic breathing sequences and the body reaps the benefits. My heart rate stays in healthy ranges until or unless I consciously ask more from it. And, when I do ask more, I’m always mindful of giving it back what it needs from the extra demand as I systematically reset my autonomic nervous system.

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