ChiRunning: The New Zen

Study on ChiRunning

I have been teaching Yoga for three years and I doubt I will ever get bored of doing so. In every Yoga class I teach, nothing is ever the same as the day before. The people, the environment and especially the energy in the room is always different. That’s why I can’t stop teaching and I enjoy every class as if it were the first one

I once thought the same about running. 

But then after being on the Cross Country team in high school and on the Triathlon team in college, I got tired of getting hurt and dragging my beat up body running no matter what. The nagging pain in my hamstring after a few miles, turned every jog to a painful and frustrating experience to the point of making me to lose interest in the sport completely.

Until I vowed to become a ChiRunner I thought my morning jogs days were over.

But I was wrong.

Yes, you heard me correctly, a ChiRunner. No, the sport does not require a space-like armature or anything more than a pair of running shoes and a positive attitude to accept and act upon change.

ChiRunning is a new discipline that bring together the body alignment and energy (Chi) distribution benefits of T’ai Chi and the aerobic exercise of running, leaving behind the pain and injuries that often follow after breaking the a sweat and then hunt us down for years. 

This is no joke, but a discipline of the mind and the body that bring pain-free running.

This technique was invented circa 10 years ago by ultramarathon runner Danny Dreyer under the guidance of T’ai Chi Master George Xu.     After his many years running and fighting with injuries Dreyer said enough and ChiRunning was born a few months later.

Try it to believe it.

I have been ChiRunning for a month now and I am happy to say my running is not only pain-free but re-energizing with no trace of lactic acid build up in my legs. 

It is hard to believe it, especially for runners, I know. But it’s all true.I have reached “the zone” in running before. And I have felt “the runner’s high” after a nice long jog.  I have been in that space where everything seems achievable and your concentration drives you up that last hill at the end of a triathlon when your muscles are about to give up.

With ChiRunning it is like you are in an “ever-lasting zone” or being in a meditative state for the whole duration of the run. When you are done you feel uplifted as if you actually just went to a holistic temple and cleansed.

ChiRuuning is like doing Yoga while running.

ChiRunning suggests a small tilt of the body forward from the ankle bones to accompany gravity rather than fighting it and a mid-foot strike that makes for a softer landing. My hamstring did not hurt a bit and every step I took I felt more balanced and more in tune with my body, as if the ChiRunning alignment was the way I should have been running all along.

Well, indeed it is. ChiRunning does in fact follow the “run like a child” principle.

The way children run when they play is the right one that every adult should follow, but indeed adults do not because they are spoiled by examples of bad postures everywhere they go, at work, at home, at the movie theater and beyond.   Kids, without knowing it, distribute their energy using bone stacking and not only musculoskeletal power and run tilted forward in the direction of their movement problem-free. Ultimately, that’s what Dreyer is trying to teach his devotees with ChiRunning.

Trying to remind us we should all run the way we ran the very first time your brother started chasing after us because he realized we stole his stamp collection he had to sell to buy his first guitar.  

Spoiler alert for all the veteran Power Runners out there: I am sorry to tell you that the “heel-to-toe stride” is out of style now. If you want to avoid shin splints, tight quads and overly stiff hamstrings, come for a spin with the ChiRunning crew and you might learn a thing or two about the way your hip bones carry the body energy accurately without the need to engage your leg muscles by letting the bones do all the work.

Tempting….I think so!

Interesting articles about ChiRunning: here and here

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