Sports and Meditation: A Great Combination
If you never really considered meditation, you may at first think that it’s just sitting indian style and chanting. No so. While that’s one element of meditation, there’s much more to it. Meditation and sports are both intertwined as they utilize breathing, posture and concentration. There are many different types of meditation, and surprisingly enough, it can be extremely beneficial if you’re an athlete. Tiger Woods, Willie Stargell, Gary Player, Arthur Ashe and Joe Namath are just a few well known athletes who have been known to meditate.
Even if you have a passing interest in meditation, it can be of great help in the long run.Think of it as a way of preparing yourself for what may be an arduous task. While there are mystical and religious elements involved, much of meditation involves training the mind to think with greater clarity.
This can be helpful if, let’s say, you’re training for endurance sports. You have to be focused and meditation is one way to help improve your focus and concentration. Meditation can help direct awareness and allow you to filter out unnecessary intrusions that can serve as distractions. It can also help you overcome any unwanted apprehension as well as feelings of uncertainty and fear. If you have feelings of impending defeat, then you’re more apt to have a sub par performance; the more deeply involved and focused you are, the greater your ability to perform. More importantly, it may help with recover during tough training periods.
Cleaning out your Head
Meditation is not as difficult as it sounds. Once you get the hang of it, you can clear your head of all the non-essential clutter, so that you can focus on your athletic performance. We have too much information swirling in our heads, which is why meditation works as a way to decrease it, while also helping you develop a greater focus on being calm, which can be an added plus for whatever sport you’re involved in.
Mantras are a way of helping you improve certain elements of your athletic performance. If you’re a golfer you can say something akin to “I will improve my swing” which once it’s set in your mind can have great benefits in the long run. Saying something like this repeatedly to yourself while meditating can help you focus on improving any athletic element that you might be having an issue with.
Meditation Techniques and Positions
Meditation takes very little effort; in many ways it’s the equivalent of taking a nap, yet in this case you’re more alert and focused.
The common form of meditation position is called the Zazen position. As an element of Zen Buddhism, Zazen is used to help relax both the body and the mind.
Posture is one of the most important elements of meditation. You should start off by finding a comfortable posture and have a cushion to sit on, which will help ground you, so do your best to find a posture that allows you to be comfortable for a lengthy period of time without any unnecessary strain. The best posture is one where your spine is completely straight, which will let your body weight transfer through your vertebrae all the way down to the cushion.
Some of the popular positions include:
The full lotus, where while sitting, you place your right foot on your left thigh, as high as you can, followed by left foot on your right thigh.
The half lotus is similar to the full, except here you place your left foot on your right thigh, while your right foot sits under the left thigh.
If sitting on a cushion is too strenuous for you, try using a chair. It’s important to sit upright and forward and not to press your back against the chair. Keep your spine comfortable and erect. You can use a pad or a pillow to help situate your back and keep a straight posture. Your feet should be flat on the floor, with the legs spread at a comfy distance to help stabilize you.
Meditation has been around since the beginning of time and millions of people use it with positive results. Not only can it help you focus in terms of athletic performance it can also help you relax and focus and achieve emotional well-being.
Check out this infographic for a quick and easy mediation method: