Coach Ian – Week in Review 03/20/2022
Book I’m Reading
Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham
I recently read Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham, a Tibetan monk and marathon runner. It’s a great read that focuses on how to strengthen the mind through meditation and incorporate a mindful practice into your running.
He makes an early point to differentiate running from meditation. Running alone isn’t meditating. Rather, they are two synergetic practices.
Sakyong goes on to explain the symbols of the windhorse and jewel in Tibet:
“In Tibet, we have a traditional image, the windhorse, which represents a balanced relationship between the wind and the mind. The horse represents wind and movement. On its saddle rides a precious jewel. That jewel is our mind. A jewel is a stone that is clear and reflects light. There is a solid, earthly element to it. You can pick it up in your hand, and at the same time you can see through it. These qualities represent the mind: it is both tangible and translucent. The mind is capable of the highest wisdom. It can experience love and compassion, as well as anger. It can understand history, philosophy, and mathematics—and also remember what’s on the grocery list. The mind is truly like a wish-fulfilling jewel. With an untrained mind, the thought process is said to be like a wild and blind horse: erratic and out of control. We experience the mind as moving all the time—suddenly darting off, thinking about one thing and another, being happy, being sad. If we haven’t trained our mind, the wild horse takes us wherever it wants to go. It’s not carrying a jewel on its back—it’s carrying an impaired rider. The horse itself is crazy, so it is quite a bizarre scene. By observing our own mind in meditation, we can see this dynamic at work. Especially in the beginning stages of meditation, we find it extremely challenging to control our mind. Even if we wish to control it, we have very little power to do so, like the infirm rider. We want to focus on the breathing, but the mind keeps darting off unexpectedly. That is the wild horse. The process of meditation is taming the horse so that it is in our control, while making the mind an expert rider.”
He later describes that many people believe that running helps to control the mind. But that’s not necessarily the case. He goes on to say,
“the clarity and peace of mind we feel after running is because the wild horse is tired, not necessarily because it has been tamed. The mental clarity brought about by physical exercise is temporary. When the horse has more energy it resumes running around.”
I ran several races without learning how to control my mind. Music blasting – relying on endorphins. Instead of seeking external stimuli, now I try to create my own mood for my runs.
The books is more about meditation than it is about running – but shares Sakyong’s experiences running several marathons, such as the Big Sur Marathon, Chicago, etc. He noted his first marathon – and the pain of running with a blister in his foot (don’t try new socks for a race!) and how he was able to control his mind during the race. He called most runners excessively present on their injuries – letting fear and panic take over their minds the moment the slightest thing goes wrong in a race.
As much as we think of marathons as a physical achievement, I would argue it’s more so a mental accomplishment as well. This was a great read blending running and meditation, with concepts that can help in your every day life.
Mindfulness While Running: Running with my Dreamland Boxing Team
About a week prior to picking up this book, I ran some hills with our Dreamland Boxing team. Before hitting one steep incline, I told our fighters to focus on their breathe while running. Nasal breathing in – the slower the better. I challenged them to imagine them slowing their heart rates down, despite running uphill which makes that nearly impossible.
One of my fighters always has his music blasting through an external speaker – I was glad that he turned it off to embrace the moment. We ran in silence, focused on our breathe and being fully present during the uphill climb. Rather than worrying about the perceived difficulty of the run or trying to blast the music louder to motivate us – we were just doing. Instead of thinking about the pain of running XX more feet uphill, we were thinking about our run step-by-step, with none of the typical thoughts of “oh no, I’m only halfway” or “how am I going to keep this pace?” We got to the top and recapped how the run went. It’s a much more enjoyable experience when you can control your mind.
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Sandra Magallon making her Pro Debut on 4/1/22 at the Chumash Casino:
Tommy Moreno’s Next Fight: Halftime of the Stockton Heat vs Abbotsford Canucks hockey game at Stockton Arena on 3/25/22
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This Week at Dreamland Boxing:
Coach Ian’s Classes:
As you may know, I am currently donating my time to host virtual online boxing classes for the members of our 501c(3) non-profit boxing gym, Dreamland Boxing. As an active member of Dreamland, you will receive the materials and video recaps of each lesson through my website under the “Premium Drills” section.
Dreamland has also increased its outdoor capacity to 16 students per class, and lifted limits on how many classes you can sign up for in a week. Join me for a class on Fridays at 4:30PM!
Our practices this week featured the following:
- Defense, defense, defense!
- Smothering inside of stepping back
- Bodyweight circuits
- And more!
You can view our full practices here.
You must be a registered member to sign up for a class, you cannot just drop-in! If you are a current member, you will receive a sign-up link to reserve your time slot every Saturday. Reserve right away because slots fill up quick (by Monday)!!
If no slots are available, sign up for the waitlist and you will be notified if any slots open up.
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