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Digital Running Club » Catching Up » Catching up (and meditating) with Rudrani Devi

Catching up (and meditating) with Rudrani Devi

The Basics: 48-year-old author, public speaker, meditation teacher, medical intuitive and holistic practitioner from Nashville, TN

When/How did you start running?
I first became interested in running in elementary school when I discovered that I could run the mile faster than all the girls and almost all the boys. That seemed like such a long distance to run when I was twelve years old!

When/Where was your best run ever?
Although it was probably my slowest PR, I would have to say my best run was my first marathon, which was the New York Marathon. I absolutely delighted in running through all the boroughs and at the time, speed was not an issue… finishing was!

What is your proudest moment in running?
My proudest moment was seeing my Mother at mile 22 cheering me on right after conquering “Heartbreak Hill” at the 2011 Boston Marathon. Even after nine previous marathons, she had never seen me run before and seemed more delighted than even I was. It brought tears to my eyes.

What is your biggest running disaster/embarrassing moment?
I was feeling strong and had planned to burn off several minutes of my PR with the relatively flat course of the Disney Marathon. All was going great as I realized I had run my fastest 1/2 marathon ever, and then the heat got to me. At mile fourteen I remembered someone asking me, “Are you ok?” The next thing I remembered was being in a medic tent chewing on glucose tablets. They did eventually let me continue the race, but my goal of attaining my best PR to date turned out to be my second worst time ever.

Do you currently have any running goals?
I plan to run the Bombay, India Marathon in January of 2013. I was shot by terrorists through my right femur and arm during the 2008 Mumbai Massacre, and was told I might never walk again… but after 25 months of rehab followed by four months of training, I was able to accomplish my dream of running the Boston Marathon. Now I want to take it full circle and run the same streets where I was injured only four years before.

What advice would you give to a runner who would like to start meditating?
I would first point out that they are already engaging in a moving meditation when they run. After a few moments on the pavement, the mind clears and all stress from the day seemingly melts away. A sitting practice is about taking those same feelings inward. Perhaps start with the visualization of running and how that feels when your in the zone… maybe it’s a feeling of flying or complete freedom. Simply watch the body ‘feeling’, ‘breathing’ and ‘being’ and soon, you are meditating within a sitting practice. The mind will dance, but simply watch it as it does with no attachment. ┬áThis is the true bliss of freedom… no attachments; just witnessing.

Why do you think runners make great meditators?
Runners are naturally great meditators. Think about the discipline it takes to run day after day, train for a race, nourish the body with appropriate foods and knowing when it’s time to say ‘no’ and rest even if your friends are encouraging you to stay for just one more beer, or one more hour. It’s innately ingrained in an authentic athlete to do what it takes for the best experience, yes? Meditation revolves around these same principles. Like running, at first the dedication to the practice can be a challenge; but with time and persistence, it becomes as natural as breathing. You won’t even need to think about it as it will simply happen to you. You don’t ask your breath to breathe; it just does so. At first running a mile can seem like a marathon… and then one day, you’re running the marathon and that first mile was simply part of your warm-up. Start with five minutes of sitting for 21 days and I’ll bet that before you get to the twenty-first day you will have naturally lengthened your sitting practice.

What advice would you give to an injured runner who is frustrated by the down time they are forced to take?
You’ll always have time to run after you heal, but if you don’t take the appropriate time to rest and allow your body to heal fully, it will take even longer to get to the point where you can run well again. It’s self-sabotage. The biggest fear is that if one takes too much time off, it will be harder to get back into it. The truth is, your body never forgets the inner-athlete… and more rest will simply create a stronger desire to get started again when the time is right. It’s like tapering down the distance before running a long-distance race. It makes you primed and eager. What you can do in the interim is visualize your running practice during your sitting practice and see yourself fully healed as you do this. With added visualizations of your running practice, your body will react as if you are actually running and you will heal faster. Win-win!

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Watching back-to-back episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” My nephew got me hooked on it last summer, and although I’ve probably seen every episode three times, I just can’t help myself. It just makes me laugh out loud… and laughing meditation is definitely one of my favorite forms of meditation!

What is a typical dinner for you?
I eat very ‘zone balanced’, which means an appropriate balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. My protein source is usually lean chicken or salmon, although don’t get me wrong, I do like the occasional filet or lamb shank; whereas the fats and carbs change depending on my mood. Mixed salad greens with olive oil are staples for me…but being Italian, sometimes my carbs come in the form of risotto or pasta… and please Mamma Mia, don’t forget the cheese!

What is something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I stand on my head before I meditate. I got a head-stand chair to practice strengthening my core by very slowly lifting my toes from the floor to above my head, but quickly realized that I enjoyed the state I would be in afterwards so much that I had to ‘sit’ and enjoy it further. Now it’s part of my meditation practice to do core strengthening for a few minutes before I sit. It might look silly to an outsider but it is absolutely delightful. Don’t knock it till you try it!

Learn more about Rudrani Devi at rudranidevi.com or follow her on Twitter @RunningRu. Then, check out her books:

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