Yoga develops the breathing technique and also the core of our body consisting of backbone, hand-leg and abdominal muscles, and gives us a platform to exert ourselves in strenuous physical activity such as running, mountain climbing, soccer. These physical activities in turn build up endurance and willpower.
After running for a certain duration and reaching a constant heart rate of 150–160, most thoughts cease to exist and all one can think or hear is one's breath. Even though we are dead tired, the urge to stop is equal to the urge to continue. The mind remains calm the whole day.
We conducted a 5km run (no race, with no prize) for children in the age group of 5 to 15 years and about ninety children participated. The parents thought 5km was quite long but were surprised to see them run and complete effortlessly. The children suggested that we have this event every week if not every month. Some of them became regular runners.
Pratipaksh action: Swami Niranjan speaks about developing pratipaksh bhavana, opposite thinking and feeling, as a means of performing the yamas and niyamas. As urban and suburban Indians we hardly do any physical activity and this calls for pratipaksh action: to perform vigorous and strenuous physical activity. Outdoor running is probably the best, however, not all places in India are suitable for running.
Sankalpa: having a sankalpa helps in enduring the pain and making the run more meaningful during endurance running. The sankalpa can be, 'Let the pain endured by me help in relieving the pain of others'. This way the runner gets a feeling that the run is not an action in futile but in line with the teaching of 'serve, love and give'. This is only a theory and I request Swamiji to throw more light on it.
After overcoming the initial pain of running when the individual has a strong desire to give up, there comes a stage when the pain and the urge to stop diminish. This stage can be called 'equilibrium stage', and it is always rewarding to run in this equilibrium zone.
Cool down and sit for five minutes with the awareness at the eyebrow centre. You will be able to feel the pulsation at ajna, vishuddhi, anahata, manipura and maybe swadhisthana and mooladhara chakras, all at the same time. The intensity of pulsation is highest at ajna and gradually decreases as you go down, and it is lowest, if at all perceptible, at mooladhara.
After approximately one to two hours of running one can do a capsule of yoga nidra. There might be a strong tendency to fall asleep as the body is tired.
Greater clarity in thought; less mental turbulence; a higher level of concentration during mantra sadhana and kriya yoga; and enhanced self-confidence and willpower.
Muscular and body pain followed by slight headache. This tends to disappear once the body is used to running.