Are you a praxis runner or a poiesis runner?

Mindfullness is hot. Living in the moment, being aware of your surroundings are things you can practise by running! The many benefits of running never cease to amaze me.

How can you practise mindfulness by running? First and foremost you have to run for the fun of it, and not just to become faster and win competitions.

Let me explain. The Greek philosopher Aristotle said there were two ways to do things, and no, he didn't mean an easy and a hard way! He meant poiesis and praxis.

Poieis means 'doing something' or 'producing something'. The reason you do something lies outside the activity itself: the goal of making a cake isn't baking, but the cake you'll be able to eat. You do something for a future goal.

Praxis on the other hand just means 'doing'. There is no external goal: the satisfaction lies in the doing.

When people start to run they often do so to lose weight: poiesis. But gradually they start to enjoy the proces of running more and more, and losing weight becomes secondary. They simply run because they enjoy the running. Praxis replaces poiesis. And when that happens you live in the moment!

To me running is mostly praxis: I'll never win anything and I'm not going out of my way to improve my pace. In fact, whenever I start to get ambitious I start to dislike running and it becomes just another chore in an already full day. So I run because I like running (praxis) and because I love the feeling of healthy fatigue afterwards (poiesis). Also the fact that, yes I cán have another chocolate! (poiesis).

Praxis and poiesis also apply to motherhood! Motherhood forces you to be in it for the praxis, because the results of your hard labor take about eighteen years to fully materialize. Much easier to try and enjoy the proces of raising kids then straining for lofty goals, which quite simply can't be enforced.

Are you a praxis runner or more of a poiesis runner?
And as a mom? Are you of the praxis variety or the poiesis kind?


ShutUpandRun said...

Great post. Really got me thinking about why I run. I love that you run just to run w/o all of the baggage regarding pace, winning, etc. And what you say about parenting is SO true - there are no immediate rewards or outcomes. You just have to be really patient and hope that everday you are giving your best to your kids, guiding them and setting a good example. Thanks for making me think!

Amy Nelson said...

I stumbled across your blog, but I love this post!

Lizzie said...

poiesis runner for sure right now, with hopes of becoming a praxis runner :) i used to enjoy it SO much as a kid, now i am on the fence. i NEED to do it, get moving, stay fit. but i would love to just enjoy the moment.

great post by the way :)

Heather said...

I have shared this post with some friends and they all agree that sometimes we just need to remember the reason(s) we do run. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

Brittany Crane said...

I am a new follower of your blog and look forward to the encouragement of your posts. It's true that I started running with the goal of losing the left over pregnancy weight, but it has changed since. I now actually enjoy it. I love running while in the moment and I love feeling healthy!

Nat said...

I think the praxis to poiesis happens when finally stop thinking of running as part of your exercise routine and start calling yourself a runner.

Althouhg I suppose some training runs are about the end goal... the big race but this month it's all about running for running's sake.

Lizzie said...

but how long will it take till running starts being more than jut exercise! i love doing it, but do it cause i have to.

Oh and i added your button on my blog :)

Jay said...

This is extremely insightful. It's very hard to do things in a praxis light when you're too much "in your head," but when you hit that mental stride and just exist in the moment, it makes everything worthwhile.

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