Relax and Lean

“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions. ~Joey Adams

“Relax and lean.” That’s the main thing I remember from the ChiRunning class I took with marathoner Doug Dapo last summer. I took up running again last March after a fifteen-year hiatus. Since my body is more “mature” now, I researched ways to make running easier on the joints and found ChiRunning, a technique created by Danny Dreyer, an ultrarunner and student of Tai Chi.

“When you relax and lean,” Dapo said during the class, “You go faster without as much effort.” He asked us to try it while we ran back and forth along a section of bike path in a small park near Westerville where he held the class. “When you pull yourself along with your legs, you’re working against gravity. If you relax and lean, gravity does the work for you.” I was skeptical, but interested. As I ran, I leaned slightly forward and relaxed my body into that position. It worked! I immediately began moving faster without as much effort. I continue to use the “relax and lean” philosophy in my running and I’ve improved my time with each race.

As 2010 turned into 2011, I began to wonder if “relax and lean” would work for writing. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I’m going to do my best to “relax and lean” around writing. By relaxing, I hope to ease the tension I unconsciously hold in my body when I write, as well as the mental pressure I put on myself around publishing. Meanwhile, I’ll lean by showing up at the page. I’ll put in the time, but without the type of pushing and pulling that’s made me crazy in the past. This is an experiment. I hope this balance of “relax and lean” will improve my productivity. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have you tried any new techniques in your writing? Please share them with us.