The Tao of Aire Libre


by Hakim Tafari

As I was boarding the plane to Mexico, I remember saying to myself: “No expectations”

I wanted to come to this experience with a beginner’s mind, ready to learn new things about this land, them people, the culture and of course myself, I somewhat wanted to challenge myself, mentally, physically and spiritually and really see the power and the construct of some Dharma practices along with trail running and Tai Chi.

I was really open to experiencing local food culture, the freshness of the fruits and vegetables, the different cultures that make this beautiful land, the Mayans, the Azteca, the Olmec and Toltecs, I just didn't know that my life was about to change in ways that I cannot even quantify into words.


The central theme and Mantra for this experience was “It’s bigger than running” and EGO CHECK 101, nevertheless there was a heavy mist of spiritual evolution that pervaded and reigned supreme over the few days of this adventure and everyone who was part of this experience felt it, even the more stoic of the group, it was not to just to feel it, but breathe it, taste it and embellish it to the core.

 There were so many things that I could pinpoint and say that was magical, that was pivotal, that was life changing but I would be here forever and a day writing a novel on this adventure, what I will say is climbing and running through the jungles of Chiapas, breathing the heavy mist air and burnt cornfields, trees and smoke from kitchens everywhere, dirt roads, rocky roads, hills that most would have a stroke with, it was surreal, what would be more surreal is seeing a women twice your age herding a flock of sheep and a pack of dogs following her up this hill like its nothing...


There where many instances of awe of the rural countrysides of Tziscao, St Cristobal, Chamula, Comitan, looking at nature in its most finite and infinite forms, there were also many instances of me questioning my own sanity in certain situations and in certain terrain BUT this is where the group of powerful individuals I was with really formed like Voltron. We all fell in love with each other’s spirit which ultimately was the driving force of this experience.

When there is a collected level of mindfulness exhibited between like minded individuals, that are willing to dive internally and be vulnerable and open and share this process called “Beginner’s mind” the possibilities are endless and we used running and the beautiful practice of “No mind”, that brings a quintessential type of balance and peace within, along with nature and beautiful people that are so loving and giving, when those times arose of frustration and anger and sadness.

I would be humbled when I remembered the kids I just hung with or the family that just opened their house and spent their week’s wages on a big feast to feed us and celebrate, that is fuel to spark humility and gratitude in the hardest and coldest of hearts and turn them into loving and compassionate hearts.




Hakim has studied and taught Eastern bodywork, in particular Shiatsu and Thai Yoga massage, since 1999, learning from some of the greatest teachers in the field of eastern bodywork. Currently, he is working with Dr. Michael Spino, author of the book “Beyond Jogging, the interspaces of running” to bring certain mindfulness techniques to the running community as well as working on a documentary and later on working on a book that will explore a little bit of everything, from running, mindfulness, veganism and spirituality.

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Photos : Daniel Almazán Klinckwort




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