By Alyssa Peacock LeonardI am a runner. I run to lunch. I run to the store. I run to see my mother. I occasionally run late. I also jog and walk through my neighborhood and, as time permits, I run with my Black Girls RUN! sisters in Nashville. When I started running I couldn’t jog a minute without becoming winded. I worked with a trainer at a local community center, which helped, but I was still struggling with my breathing. It wasn’t necessarily an issue of physical limitations, it was more so about how I was breathing that was affecting my running. I found a solution in intuitive breathing. I discovered intuitive breathing through a beginner’s yoga class taught by one of my Black Girls RUN! sisters here in Nashville. As the class flowed into various poses, our instructor, Jamila, told us to be mindful of our inhaling and exhaling. Rather than my breath controlling me, I was controlling my breath. The concept of mindful breathing was not new to me, but doing it while exercising was a real eye opener. I applied intuitive breathing to running and saw immediate improvement. Gaining control of my breath has allowed me to run faster and for longer distances. An unexpected outcome of intuitive breathing is that I am now mindful of my breath both on and off the pavement. Placing an emphasis on my breath has helped me live in the moment and, in turn, running has become moving meditation for me, providing a sense of focus that I hadn’t had before. Uniting breath and movement through intuitive breathing has made a huge impact in both my running and everyday life. The demands of life are myriad and unpredictable. We are all running in a million different directions at any given time. Taking time out to check your breathing, even in the midst of a hectic day, can calm your nerves and help you put things in perspective. Just 5 minutes of consciously breathing can change your attitude and make life a little bit easier. Check out this video, by the authors of Running on Air: The Revolutionary Way to Run Better by Breathing Smarter to learn how to breathe intuitively and how to incorporate the technique into your run. About Alyssa Peacock Alyssa Peacock Leonard is a mother, daughter, sister, and aunt. She is a proud member of BGR! Nashville.
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