Fitness has been a theme in the Sri Chinmoy Centre over the past month or two, with a number of us having a shot at some great trail runs – the Tarawera trail race near Rotorua with distances up to 50km, the recent Riverhead Rampage multi-distance run out in Woodhill forest near Kumeu in Auckland, and then again last weekend’s Motutapu/Rangitoto island event. This last one had us in the half marathon option, a fairly tough course that included the highest climbs over the trig points on both islands, long hills, rocky lava fields along Rangitoto’s foreshore and some great fast downhill stretches through the narrow forest tracks.

It’s great to have challenges, and I remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s comment that to live fully, every day we should attempt something that scares us. So I’m looking ahead next to April’s Waitomo ultras down in the Waikato, the longer distances being 22km and 35 km. If that sounds easy, take a look at the topography and the elevation profiles for this event –  the hills are endless!! Eleanor would be proud of me.

Some of our keen trail runners are having a bash at Mt Ruapehu’s Ring of Fire threesome relay earlier in April,2018, three person teams covering some 22km each around the mountain’s flanks, and one or two doing the whole distance solo. Our youngest runner likes the other quotation about challenges: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for”.

So we’re all heading out into the uncharted open seas and exploring what we’re capable of.

Running offers these insights along with many other benefits conferred. And as a meditator, I always notice the relationship between fitness and training and the flow-on effects into my spiritual life, the greater ease of cultivating a still mind, still body, slow breath.

Not to mention how the disciplines of training and eating really well take us up to a level of wellbeing that’s really amazing – energy, self-belief, inspiration to take on other kinds of challenges and to live life as fully as we can.

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