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Still Running: The Art of Meditation in Motion

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Learn how to bring the power of stillness into your running practice with meditations, guidance, and inspiration from a long-time runner and Zen practitioner. When we see running solely as exercise and focus on improving our times, covering a certain number of miles, or losing weight, we miss the deeper implications of this art. We miss the opportunity to take up running as Learn how to bring the power of stillness into your running practice with meditations, guidance, and inspiration from a long-time runner and Zen practitioner. When we see running solely as exercise and focus on improving our times, covering a certain number of miles, or losing weight, we miss the deeper implications of this art. We miss the opportunity to take up running as a practice that bridges the apparent gap between stillness and movement, meditation and activity. Moving away from the limited definition of running as fitness training, Vanessa Zuisei Goddard combines her decade of experience leading running retreats with her two-decade practice of Zen to offer insight, humor, and practical suggestions for grounding your running, or any physical practice, in meditation. Whether you are a new or experienced runner, you will learn how to be more embodied through thirteen running practices to help improve your focus and running form. Using mantras and visualizations, as well as a range of other exercises, Goddard offers ways to practice running as a moving meditation with an eye toward bringing the power of stillness to all the activities in your life. Ultimately, Still Running is a book about freedom, ease, and the joy of movement; it's about the power of stillness and learning how to use that power to live wholeheartedly.


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Learn how to bring the power of stillness into your running practice with meditations, guidance, and inspiration from a long-time runner and Zen practitioner. When we see running solely as exercise and focus on improving our times, covering a certain number of miles, or losing weight, we miss the deeper implications of this art. We miss the opportunity to take up running as Learn how to bring the power of stillness into your running practice with meditations, guidance, and inspiration from a long-time runner and Zen practitioner. When we see running solely as exercise and focus on improving our times, covering a certain number of miles, or losing weight, we miss the deeper implications of this art. We miss the opportunity to take up running as a practice that bridges the apparent gap between stillness and movement, meditation and activity. Moving away from the limited definition of running as fitness training, Vanessa Zuisei Goddard combines her decade of experience leading running retreats with her two-decade practice of Zen to offer insight, humor, and practical suggestions for grounding your running, or any physical practice, in meditation. Whether you are a new or experienced runner, you will learn how to be more embodied through thirteen running practices to help improve your focus and running form. Using mantras and visualizations, as well as a range of other exercises, Goddard offers ways to practice running as a moving meditation with an eye toward bringing the power of stillness to all the activities in your life. Ultimately, Still Running is a book about freedom, ease, and the joy of movement; it's about the power of stillness and learning how to use that power to live wholeheartedly.

30 review for Still Running: The Art of Meditation in Motion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Swati

    “Why do you run?” I am a runner but I have never given this simple question too much thought. Why, I run to keep myself fit. Stay in shape. Because it makes me feel good etc. But Vanessa Zuisei Goddard does not accept these answers. She classifies them as vague answers. Rightly so. “Which shape do you want to retain? The one you had at eighteen and at your peak form? The shape you had at thirty? At fifty?” These opening lines from Goddard’s mesmerising book “Still Running” pulled me in with a quie “Why do you run?” I am a runner but I have never given this simple question too much thought. Why, I run to keep myself fit. Stay in shape. Because it makes me feel good etc. But Vanessa Zuisei Goddard does not accept these answers. She classifies them as vague answers. Rightly so. “Which shape do you want to retain? The one you had at eighteen and at your peak form? The shape you had at thirty? At fifty?” These opening lines from Goddard’s mesmerising book “Still Running” pulled me in with a quiet embrace. Goddard teaches us how to be intensely aware of everything, of being entirely in the moment through lessons in running. Running is a movement-oriented activity and most of focus on external achievements like time and distance. But running can go beyond that and show us how to absorb the power of stillness. As contradictory as it sounds, we can be still while running. Or cycling. Or cooking. Or reading. Anything that includes movement can include stillness. “It’s the kind of stillness that pulls you in, like a whirlpool tugging you toward its center. A stillness so complete that right now seems to envelop me and the whole subway car, the track we’re rattling along on…” Goddard takes us through the meditation technique named zazen and addresses different aspects of our life – breath, mind, pain, silence. She outlines a “practice” in each chapter which is framed around running, but really can be adapted for anything and by anyone. I particularly loved that she illustrates everything with intriguing anecdotes from her own experiences. I felt the gentleness, kindness, and a light in Goddard’s words. She leads you gently on to a path and leaves you there with a smile, and you can’t help but go on that path after everything she shared with you. That’s how I felt. A deeply thought-provoking book. I leave you with one of my favourite passages. “What you do is completely up to you. Just choose deliberately. Choose to be awake in all the many and varied moments of your life so that, in the end, hopefully you’ll be able to look back at that life and say, ‘It wasn’t perfect, but I was there for it.’”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Smitha Murthy

    Some books are so transformative. I have been a runner for more than a decade now. But after reading this book, I realized just how mindlessly I run. Not that the book says I should cast such judgement on myself. But ‘Still Running’ is a beautiful meditation on the art of running or any exercise. If you are a cyclist, please pick this up. Or well, anyone really. Walking. Running. Cycling. Dancing. Wherever we move. In beautiful, sparse language, Vanessa Goddard guides us through the basic elemen Some books are so transformative. I have been a runner for more than a decade now. But after reading this book, I realized just how mindlessly I run. Not that the book says I should cast such judgement on myself. But ‘Still Running’ is a beautiful meditation on the art of running or any exercise. If you are a cyclist, please pick this up. Or well, anyone really. Walking. Running. Cycling. Dancing. Wherever we move. In beautiful, sparse language, Vanessa Goddard guides us through the basic elements of zazen. The principles offered for running, she elaborates, are those that can be applied anywhere in life: intent, discipline, commitment. Honestly, we can all do with some intent, commitment, and discipline, can’t we? Rich with practical exercises, there’s much to love in this book. So much to love. So much gentle kindness. So much warmth.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karel Baloun

    Intent, Commitment, Disciple: 3 key requirements for living awake. Goddard redefines this key concepts in a useful and unique way. I can become aware of a lot more as I run: breathing, cadence, shifts in tension or posture... and above all I should be grateful for each run. This book is much more about Buddhism than about running, as is Goddard's life.  Some of the stories are more interesting and relevant that others.  Surprisingly, I didn't feel drawn either to Buddhism or the monastic life.  Pe Intent, Commitment, Disciple: 3 key requirements for living awake. Goddard redefines this key concepts in a useful and unique way. I can become aware of a lot more as I run: breathing, cadence, shifts in tension or posture... and above all I should be grateful for each run. This book is much more about Buddhism than about running, as is Goddard's life.  Some of the stories are more interesting and relevant that others.  Surprisingly, I didn't feel drawn either to Buddhism or the monastic life.  Perhaps a longer book about "spirituality in motion" including taichi and qigong, with fewer historical anecdotes and more science and expert witness might be stronger. I can’t help but contrast this with “Happy Runner” which covers some if the same topics in a more entertaining voice.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I have worked with Zuisei as a teacher for a while, so not being a runner wasn't going to stop me from reading this book. Of course, much of what she offers for runners could be applied to what I do for physical exercise including walking and practicing yoga asana. And I will use the book in that way. And still, the book is so much more. It is an introduction to Buddhism, to Zen practices, and really a guide to living a true spiritual and contemplative life, no matter your religious inclinations I have worked with Zuisei as a teacher for a while, so not being a runner wasn't going to stop me from reading this book. Of course, much of what she offers for runners could be applied to what I do for physical exercise including walking and practicing yoga asana. And I will use the book in that way. And still, the book is so much more. It is an introduction to Buddhism, to Zen practices, and really a guide to living a true spiritual and contemplative life, no matter your religious inclinations. What's more, you won't find platitudes in Zuisei's book. She writes as she teaches: clearly and to the point and skillfully willing to take us to the depth of our being. Zuisei uses stories from Buddhism as well as other traditions and perhaps most potently, her own experiences, to guide our effort and attention in our body work, our meditation, and all the moments of our lives. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Also, glad to have found this site today. I can't wait to look around some more and share what I can and get recommendations from you all!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bitza

    Running as a meditation... I believe most runners feel unconsciously, during their practice, the liberating feeling of motion beyond the occasional pain, struggle and other distractions. Mrs. Goddard shares her insight of decades of running and practicing zazen. By including meditation techniques and Buddhist philosophy within the "mundane" practice of running, the author reveals how stillness and calmness can be achieved through motion. What could be more beautiful than the merging of mind and Running as a meditation... I believe most runners feel unconsciously, during their practice, the liberating feeling of motion beyond the occasional pain, struggle and other distractions. Mrs. Goddard shares her insight of decades of running and practicing zazen. By including meditation techniques and Buddhist philosophy within the "mundane" practice of running, the author reveals how stillness and calmness can be achieved through motion. What could be more beautiful than the merging of mind and body, of body and environment, the realization that you are part of everything and everything is within you.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bernie Schmidt

    A highly readable book that explores physical exercise as a meditative practice. While the book details aspects Goddard's experiences with running, her approach and exercises easily apply to other forms of activity, be it swimming, cycling, walking as well as sitting in meditation. Practical, informative and complete with personal anecdotes that flow throughout the book. Highly recommended. A highly readable book that explores physical exercise as a meditative practice. While the book details aspects Goddard's experiences with running, her approach and exercises easily apply to other forms of activity, be it swimming, cycling, walking as well as sitting in meditation. Practical, informative and complete with personal anecdotes that flow throughout the book. Highly recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Lovie

    A step by step guide on bringing a meditation practice into running, and ultimately turning running itself into a meditation practice. Each step is introduced with relevant examples from Buddhist teachings. It is transforming my running into a deep and sustainable practice. I'll continue working through the practices and update my review as I go. A step by step guide on bringing a meditation practice into running, and ultimately turning running itself into a meditation practice. Each step is introduced with relevant examples from Buddhist teachings. It is transforming my running into a deep and sustainable practice. I'll continue working through the practices and update my review as I go.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Luciano Elementi

    I enjoyed the progression of the book from Intent, to Stillness, to Silence. This is not a book on running per-se, it is a book on meditation, Buddhism, mantras, meaning, and mind. While being unfamiliar with eightfold and disturbing emotions I found myself listening to these unique words. Agreeing. It is a book on the beauty of the struggle, a book on reflecting and running, run and reflect.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Vag

    A whopping 5/5 for this one. I was lucky enough to hear her interview with Sam Harris and this is how I discovered this gem. Now meditation and running, that's quite a niche but she pulls it off with remarkable grace. Her ideas are crystal clear and I will be keeping an eye out for whatever else she publishes. A whopping 5/5 for this one. I was lucky enough to hear her interview with Sam Harris and this is how I discovered this gem. Now meditation and running, that's quite a niche but she pulls it off with remarkable grace. Her ideas are crystal clear and I will be keeping an eye out for whatever else she publishes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    I took Jukai (Buddhist precepts) six years ago and have been slowing growing my relationship with running for a few years. I found this book life-changing, not just in these two realms, but in all facets of life, from discipline, success and failure, to self-worth. I appreciate the depth of teachings offered in both Zen and training/body practice.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Impressive. It is supportive and gentle while peppered with enough research and history to jump in for a deeper dive. This book really resonated with me as someone with a somewhat good grounding in zen meditation and avid runner.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaways

  13. 5 out of 5

    Angela Costello

    I was given this book as a gift by my partner because he knows I run and meditate daily, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Srikanth

    A nice little book giving a different perspective of stillness.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicole B

  17. 5 out of 5

    Two Readers in Love

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  19. 5 out of 5

    AJ Hadigan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Perras

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Oakes

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vinny Bogan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Dixon

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris Kepley

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rory Gallagher

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lucianna Wolfstone

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marg Aalders

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rilli75

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