Journey of the mind and spirit

DYNAMIC MEDITATION: Ashish Lahiri on the spiritual track. — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

DYNAMIC MEDITATION: Ashish Lahiri on the spiritual track. — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu  

Running, for Ashish Lahiri, is more than an exercise. It is a form of dynamic meditation. This academician, who indulges in the rarest of all pursuits - marathon running even in his forties, is ready with an unpublished book on the subject.

FOR ASHISH Lahiri, Professor at Institute of Chartered and Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI), a morning run is more than just exercise: it is a journey of the mind and spirit. At forty-six, his legs eat up the miles with the appetite and single-mindedness of a moon shot. Twice a week, this genial, balding man puts on his running boots and indulges in that rarest of middle-age pursuits: running a marathon.

At an age when for most males pushing it means skipping breakfast or forsaking travel in lifts, Ashish Lahiri finds pleasure and spiritual bliss in going beyond the pain barrier that all marathon runners learn to fear, love and finally conquer. "Running is a form of dynamic meditation. After an hour of running, the mind becomes a vehicle of relaxation, spiritual delight and ecstasy. I believe this is better than static meditation or yoga. Running achieves in a couple of hours what yoga takes years to accomplish. The endorphin-rush gives a high that drugs cannot compete with: this high is your own hard-won creation. In myself, at its peak, I feel my ego slipping away. I feel one with nature, with life; differences of birth, status and age vanish. Anger dissolves, empathy reigns supreme."

Professor Lahiri feels that age is no barrier to accessing the physical and spiritual gains of marathon running. "I was inspired to take up long distance running after reading about Ms. Klein, an American woman who took it up in middle age. I've run in marathons all over the world - Mexico City, Nairobi, London, Dubai... and I meet septuagenarian marathon-enthusiasts all the time. Dr. Ashish Roy, a 72-year-old New Delhi-based cardiologist has run in over 50 races, and recently won the first prize in his age-group in Montreal!"


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