Crowd Jogging – A dynamic meditation

Crowd Jogging (CJ) is very simple. Take a shopping street closed for traffic, and jog your way thru it. You should get thru the street in a shorter time than if you were walking, while avoiding physical contact with people. The goal is not to go fast, but to flow thru.

The difficulty range of CJ is broad, and directly correlated to crowd density, which in turn depends on parameters like the size of discount percentages in shops, weather quality and type of day (workday, weekend, payday, holyday etc.). Take a regular weekday morning with no Sales, and chances are, that you will jog your way thru the shopping street with very little need for zigzagging. It would be a “walk in the park”, so to speak.

With increasing crowd density (CD), a higher demand on your awareness will be imposed, as you no longer can predict the path much ahead, and direction must change constantly. When CD increases, not only will free space narrows, but you will also have to monitor movement patterns of more people simultaneously, which will require your total presence.

At high CD’s the probability of Spontaneous Crowd Clustering (SCC) also becomes high. SCC is a phenomenon where a sudden dramatic increase in CD happens very locally and for apparently no reason. A SCC will make path prediction even more challenging, and will require extreme responsiveness in order to keep moving and avoiding bumping into people.

Basically CJ is an exercise in presence and awareness, while being physical active. There is a strong meditational aspect to it. So you get the benefit of both meditation and physical activity. The more present you are, the broader your awareness of the surrounding becomes, and the better you respond to it. It is actually much about letting go of control – feeling rather than thinking your way thru. The more you are able to let go, the more effortless jogging thru the masses becomes. You may even experience a kind of synchronicity with the crowd. Everything turns into a flow and it somehow feels like “you” are not there to do it. You feel more like a witness to the experience, a passenger in a trip. It is a wonderful feeling, though very addictive. When having a successful CJ, chances are that you will want more of it, which will place you back in the driver seat, thinking you are doing this, and are good at it. That is when CJ becomes a struggle and the feeling of flow vanishes, usually replaced by frustrations.

There is a scale for assessing the level of difficulty of CJ, see below. Since crowds are seldom homogenous, the level of difficulty is rarely the same for the whole street, but varies locally. However it usually stays within a range, i.e. 2-3 or 5-6. Sudden more abrupt changes can happen very locally, so a CJ can for example be assessed as a 4-5 with a single 6.

To assess the level of difficulty, one needs to evaluate the following parameters.

  • TFD: Period with Fixed Direction. This is the number of second you can jog without having to change direction
  • LPP. Length of Path Prediction. This is the number of meter you can predict your path ahead of you. LPPis of course strongly correlated to TFD. However, there can be situations, where constant change of direction is mandatory, but you still can predict your path quite much ahead.
  • PSCC: Probability of Spontaneous Crowd Clustering (SCC). A statistic parameter between 0 and 1, which indicates the likelihood of a crowd cluster to happen.
Level TFD LPP PSCC Evaluation
1 >5 sek >10 m <0,01 Walk in the park
2 >2 sek >10 m <0,01 Easy
3 <2 sek > 5 m <0,01 Intermediate
4 < 1 sek < 5 m 0,1-0,20 Challenging
5 < 1 sek < 3 m 0,1-0,30 Difficult
6 < 1 sek < 2 m 0,20-0,50 Very difficult
7 < 1 sek < 1m 0,5-1 Extremely difficult
8 0 m 1 Backward movement

There is no level 0, as there is no such thing as an empty shopping street. So the scale starts at Level 1, which is very easy. At that level the awareness needed is only a little above the available attention span of a bimbo walking while simultaneously arguing with her boyfriend over the phone, using a headset and still holding the phone flat in her hand with the microphone end close to the mouth, a vanilla skinny soya latte in the other hand, a set of shopping bags and a purse hanging from the elbow joint, and wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day. Basically level 1 could almost be done with eyes closed.

Level 8 is where any forward movement is no longer possible. You actually get pushed back. This happens only in extreme situations for example during a Black Friday or under a terrorist attack.

Assessing the difficulty level of CJ can be a tricky affair. You may need the assistance of a Certified Crowd Jogging Inspector (CCJI), especially if you are going to promote yourself on SoMe. Please refer to your local agency for a nearby CCJI or for enrolment in a CCJI Programme Training.

By Nikolaj Lehmann

One thought on “Crowd Jogging – A dynamic meditation

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  1. As a frequent traveller I’m very familiar with controlled forward movement in overcrowded areas, Shopping Malls, Markets and Airports just being some of them. And here, the regular practice of CJ has helped me a lot, not only to move more fluent forward but also contributed to much less frustration, as over time it is getting easier to read people despite their origin.
    On top of that, after a good 90-120min jogging, arriving at a place to practice some high-level CJ really loosen up the legs, and while the mind starts drifting the legs are as good as new afterwards.
    Definitely, CJ is here to stay.

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