.BY KIMBERLY BABIN
Fullyalive101 is a conversation about health and wellness in mind, body and spirit. We believe that joy, success, and happiness all come from curating a life that explores fun, unique and creative ways to live FULLY ALIVE, to live the life you were born to.
Dear Fully Alivers,
I know you might think I have gone too far down the rabbit hole with this one, but hear me out. I truly believe a 5k can be a spiritual experience, for anyone, and it is the way I have experienced mine. They are energetic, fun, vibrant events...the kind we love! Not spiritual? Don't care-at-all. (we really tried there.)
We know we are more than a mind, more than a body, we are also a spirit or a soul, connected to the infinite and divine. Running a 5k is great exercise for our bodies, but most look over, and possibly eye-roll at the notion a 5K can be on the spiritual side. In Western culture, often exercise is often viewed as simply a way to keep our bodies in shape, healthy, and looking nice, but tai chi and yoga practitioners of the East have been actively teaching the spiritual elements of exercise for thousands of years. A 5k run is not associated with a specific religion or belief system, which allows it to be accessible to anyone’s concept of spirituality. Whatever beliefs you have, running a 5K is the perfect opportunity to recognize the connection between body and soul.
Whether running through city streets, cornfields, a college campus, on a beach or mountain trails, 5ks get you back into nature. A simple 5k can rekindle a relationship with, and understanding of, the expansiveness of nature that we are all connected to. Even if your run is on pavement (or gigantic inflatable bouncy terrain), most of the time the wide open sky is available above. Being immersed in nature, we tend to appreciate and be gently reminded that we are a divine part of it as well. It is easier to remember that connection when we are moving about outdoors as oppose to staring at the TV stuck to our treadmill.
2.) Clearing the Mind
Running a 5k gives us a decent length of time to clear our mind, as our focus tends to stay on the path in front of us, not on our bills, our emails we have yet to respond to, or whatever is normally filling our heads. When our mind is clear of relentless chatter, it creates a space for the spiritual to be felt. When our mind is quieted, we can hear the choir of our divine song of life.
Breathing and breath is the basic core element of any meditation practice. While this is particularly emphasized in yoga, the same elements can be brought into running when done with intent and awareness. When running a 5K, set the intention to notice thoughts and gently let them go. Pay attention to your breath and take full deep breathes that reach the bottom chambers of the lungs. Tune into the sensations of the body, noticing where pain, stiffness, or soreness is residing. Also bringing attention to the movement of the body, feelings of energetic and physical releases, and also positive feelings the body experiences as well. Doing so will help strengthen your own understanding of the mind, body, spirit connection.
4.) Experiencing Faith and Grace
If you are an experienced runner, maybe you are striving to achieve your best time, while 5k newbies may be unsure if they can make it through the distance purely, at any speed. Either way, a 5k can be an experience of faith and grace. Trusting that the divine will help us to make it through, even if we aren’t sure of our own abilities alone, is an act of faith, and in doing so we experience Grace. That feeling of accomplishment at the end where people “Woo” and high- five is often not so much a “Look what I did, I am awesome” reaction as it is a “Yes, thank you (God, Universe, Divine, Creator, Higher-self) for helping me to make it through.”
5.) The Beauty of it All
Ok, I will admit it. I have secretly cried at every 5k I have ever been to, because they remind me of the beauty of it ALL. Families and friends, teams, and communities are deepening their connections and relationships through the experience. Individuals and lone runners are striving for their personal best. People that haven’t exercised a day in their life are here finding a new love for it. People are dancing, taking photographs, and giving fist bumps to strangers. They are celebrating! Diverse with people of different everything, religions, and backgrounds... all there…together, celebrating our one common thread that ties us all…the gift of life, and they are doing it…FULLY ALIVE!
Now go run a 5k.
F U L L Y A L I V E 1 0 1
*Please remember fullyalive101.org does not provide any medical advice, and all articles should be considered opinion. Consult with your doctor for medical information.
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