As a trailrunner I spend long hours on the dirt, sweating, breathing hard, and pushing through. Eating plant-based I have to fuel for the runs using wholesome foods that come naturally from our planet. Meditating I become aware of my mind & body and stay connected to the moment. In yoga I actively connect to my aches and pains and to the world around and in me.
While all of the activities I do, and more, "connect" me with my body, I am not perfect and don't purport to be. Because it is a perpetual journey that fulfills you and so one of the key aspects of it this journey is awareness.
In Meditation & Yoga...
In meditation and yoga you learn to not participate in the distractions, but to simply be aware of them and let them pass by like the clouds. You watch the clouds and comment on them, but your not there in the clouds. And so in mindfulness exercises you simply let the distractions pass by. You create a process for awareness and in the moment contemplation. We are honoring ourselves and being kind to our bodies, but not egotisticaly.
The miles after miles, day after day, drop of sweat after drop of sweat that goes into running breaks you down. And builds you up. But through this constant process takes work to continue. What I mean by that is that when I'm out there on the trails it becomes imperative that I am aware of my body and become even more in tune with it.
It is an essential part of running that you can judge where you're at physically, mentally, and emotionally. If your capable of doing what you have planned. Even though it might be hard, will you still push through it? Can you still push through it? You're tired, but can you still go those extra miles? Should you? What is good for your physical wellbeing to have fun and commit the next day?
Even though the questions are easy enough to ask, the answers are difficult to find. These questions and many more are what you need to ask yourself out on the trails everyday. Becoming aware of your body is hard and you can only do so with practice and experience. That is the perpetual process and I am most definitely still in it.
Mindfulness of the machine that is carrying you down the trail depends a lot upon on how much you can listen. Turning off the headphones, focusing, and loving the process can lead to clear decision on nutrition, route choices, speed, and effort. All facets of a bigger picture of a successful and happy run.
If you were a cyclist or a swimmer or a kayaker. You have to repair and care for you bike, pool, or kayak. And just the same awareness of your body, and it's upkeep, is just as paramount.
In Plant-Based Living...
Another vital place for body mindfulness is in what you eat.
An analogy I often use is this. If you owned a very expensive sports car, one that you loved and worked extremely hard for, you would hear every creak and feel the car as if it where part of you. You would give it the best gas and repair it as often as needed, and more. It would be apart of your everyday life and it's presence you would honor and adore.
So if you would do that with a sports car why don't we do that with our bodies? Something priceless that we feed with trash and take care of like nothing. We need to become aware of the thing that carries us through the day. Feeding it right and taking care of it is just as vital, more so even, as anything else you do. Because from health stems every other goal you have. If you're healthy you're ready to live.
That is why I am vegan, because I want to honor my body. To live a healthy, fulfilling life that will last for a long time. And of course one that will allow me to run free out on the trails. I can only do this with a plant-based diet that fuels me right and treats me right.
I hope we can all learn a little more mindfulness. Of our minds, world, and body. Because, that is all we can do to live in a world we want, to be the person we truly want, and to have the peacefully present mindset that we need.