Whenever I run I try to clear my mind so that it becomes a sort of meditation. Focusing on the breath coming in and out. Focusing on the steps. Not focusing on how far I have to go or how tired I am! As soon as I do that the run is significantly more challenging! So just as in meditation I turn my attention back to the breath and take each step as it comes.
This past run I started to think about something I'd read in the book "The Illegal" by Lawrence Hill that features a long distance runner who talks about minimizing the time your feet are on the ground while running. I've always loved the space between the steps, where it feels like your almost flying. And I started to think about what it really meant to keep your feet off the ground as much as possible. There's the obvious physical benefit of less stress on the feet and joints but what about the emotional and mental aspect of keeping our feet off the ground.
Having our feet on the ground gives us a sense of security and safeness. During yoga practice we focus on grounding ourselves through our feet or seat when working on the base Chakra (Muladhara) to lessen fear and anxiety. Just the suggestion of doing a handstand will invoke instant fear in many people because suddenly we have lost the security of having our feet planted firmly on the ground. And just like everything else, running is no exception. Having our feet on the ground makes us feel safe.
But although safety is important, too much safety can hold us back. It keeps us from taking risks that could lead us to the goals we really want to achieve. I'm not talking about jumping off a cliff or sky diving (unless that's your thing and you've taken precautions) but smaller risks such as talking to a stranger, applying for a job you're not sure you're qualified for, or starting your own business. When evaluated on a logical level these risks are minimal, really only jeapardizing our egos. What if we fail? What if that person is rude to us or thinks we're bothering them? What if I don't get the job?
Well, what if? What if you do get the job? What if that person becomes your new best friend? What if your business is a raving success?
We only have one life to live. Don't let fear hold you back from actually living it! Try handstands (safely)! Move out of your comfort zone. Embrace the failure! Embrace the success! And enjoy the ride!