Five Ideas For Running Meditation Practice

In a previous post on how meditation practices include exercise, Sakyong Mipham stated, “Exercise can be a support for meditation, and meditation can be a support for exercise.” In this post he expands on this to include five ides for running meditation practices.

Both this post and the previous post refer to Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

Five Ideas For Running Meditation Practice

When I began running, naturally I found myself applying the principles of meditation to my exercise. For me, this seems natural because running is a training of the body, and meditation is a training of the mind. Ideally, we do not have to decide which

His ideas include mindfulness, appreciation, challenge, purpose and worthiness.

Let’s examine these one by one.


Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose to what is going on in the present moment as if your life depended upon it. Mindfulness in running implies the you know what you are doing and why.

We simply bring our mind to whatever activity we are doing and observe it in a nonjudgmental way. In running, we can be mindful of our breathing, the landing of our feet and the swinging of our arms.

Appreciation That Brings Joy

Appreciation is the act of feeling grateful for what we have, whether it be health, wealth or spiritual awareness. My wife always says, “To desire what you don’t have wastes what you do have.” In the case of running (or tennis), we appreciate the ability to have sufficient health to be able to participate in the activity.

While running, it is important to allow ourselves to appreciate what we are doing — and enjoy it. When we forget to appreciate our workout, a precious opportunity is lost.


The challenge in running is to better our previous runs, either by how long they take, how far we go, and how strong is our mental state. A good run puts us in the zone, just like a good tennis match. This is the most important aspect in my opinion.

Another aspect of building mind-body synchronicity is seeing the benefits of challenging ourselves. Within every run or meditation session, there will always be challenges. Rather than see them as problematic, we can regard them as new frontiers for growth and strength.


The purpose of running may not only be to promote health, stamina and conditioning. Our purpose may be to promote awareness of our breath, our bodies, our minds and the contents of our minds. Running for a while thinking about what we have to do later is not very helpful. When we run with purpose, we stay present to what is happening.

Whether we are meditating or running, having purpose is essential because it gives the mind a way to orient itself. Likewise, without purpose, the body has no reason to exert itself. In meditation, this is the notion of intelligence. In running — and in exercise altogether — it is the notion of energy. Without purpose, our body lacks energy and our mind starts to wander.


Worthiness comes with an enhanced self image. We feel good about ourselves and we know that we are accomplishing something by continuing to run (or play tennis).

The integration of running and meditation results in a feeling of worthiness. When mind and body come together, we feel good because we are thoroughly engaged. Great vitality and power occur: we feel worthy to be who we are, where we are and doing what we are doing.

Update: Five Ideas For Running Meditation Practice

Running With The Mind of Meditation

Running With The Mind of Meditation

I’ve been looking through some of my favorite posts on my blog and realized that I neglected to show you the cover image of Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

With my love of tennis, these teachings are a marvelous addition.

Tell Me About Your Activities

Are you a runner? Do you do yoga? How good are you at tennis? Do you like swimming? Baseball? Basketball? Football? Hockey? Skiing? Kayaking? Hiking? What is your favorite activity like running?

In your chosen activity, which of these ideas works the best for you? Can you see how to apply the five ideas for running meditation practice?

Leave a comment and share your information. It will make me happy to see you participate.



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