Picture it: Reston, Virgina 1998. An impressionable, but over-worked twenty-something goes to see How Stella Got Her Groove Back. The fictionalized version of Terry MacMillian’s real life love-affair was entertaining. (But seriously Terry, how could you not know? But I digress.) The women in the audience went wild for Taye Diggs, who is a gorgeous man, for certain. I was more impressed with not only Angela Bassett’s body, but her running style. The woman ran like a gazelle. Her form. Her grace. All I could say was “Wow!”
I called my now-husband, and said, “Rom, I’m going to start running!” I put on my white sweatpants, white t-shirt, white shoes, and hit the pavement. It’s running…no problem, right? I lasted all of two blocks before I said, “To hell with this!” I walked home defeated.
In the 13 years since, each time I’ve tried to walk or jog for fitness, I always felt like I was missing something. It didn’t matter if it I was on a treadmill or outside. Time didn’t matter either: 10 minutes or 30 minutes. Each walk ended the same way: I was tired. My legs hurt. I felt depleted. And I cursed. A lot. :-)
I never gave up hope I would learn to run. Watching people run with ease always fascinated me. To have such a high level of cardiovascular fitness was my goal.
Last month, I began working with my friend Shaymali, who is a personal trainer and a fellow yoga teacher. She asked me about my goals. One of them is to run a 5-K race this year. Shaymali said to me, “If your goal is to run a 5-K, then you MUST get this book called Chi Running. I wish someone had put this book in my hand before I started running. I had to re-learn how to run. I want you to start off the right way.” She has completed half-marathons, so I bought Chi Running the next day.
I figured I must learn to walk before I run, so I got Chi Walking from the library and read that first. I practiced all the moves in my own house before I went outside. The first time I Chi Walked, it lasted 4 minutes because I witnessed the tail end of a nasty hit-and-run accident. (No one was visibly hurt. The car that was hit was empty. I was the first person on the scene and had to tell the owner what happened, and of course, the police. That, as they say, is a whole ‘nother story….)
The last 3 times were a REVELATION. I LIKE walking! I’m noticing nature. I come home in a positive mood. Even before I end with the stretches, I feel good. And even more wild, I look forward to walking and I enjoy myself!
Chi Walking: The Five Mindful Steps for Lifelong Health and Energy by Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer is a MUST-HAVE if you want to walk for fitness. Danny is a long-time student of Tai Chi. The Tai Chi principles of working with nature, rather than against it, is the root of Chi Walking. I appreciate the focus on mindful living, not simply good walking form.
Those 5 mindful steps are:
- Get aligned
- Engaged your core
- Create balance
- Make a choice
- Move forward
Shaymali knew I would like the book because we’re both yoga teachers. I like holistic approaches to health. We are mind-body-spirit beings; and all parts of us must be nurtured. Chi Walking is a holistic fitness program that you can use for the rest of your life. I am reading Chi Running now, and review that one soon. I plan on doing both as I train for the Baltimore Running Festival in October!
Rating: 10+ out of 10 Mocha Angels