Meditate / Meditation: To think or reflect upon, consider, design, purpose, intend. To heal, care, to remedy. To care for, attend to, study, practice, etc.

 

Why Meditate: Relives stress & anxiety, can decrease blood pressure, can lower cholesterol, more efficient oxygen use by the body, restful sleep, can make you happier & smarter, etc. Clears the mind of the chatter (~60,000 thoughts daily – 80%/90% are the same daily), puts the ego in check, reduces physical pain, improves overall mood & sleep, etc. It also gives you a better perspective of the world around you & improves concentration. Their are many studies of how / why mediation can / will improve your daily life – the first step is starting a daily meditation practice.

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How to Meditate: First of all their is no exact right or wrong way – besides stilling still in silence daily with your eyes closed for ~10/20 minutes. Find a place of quiet – close your bedroom door / put up a do not disturb sign, etc. Their can be lots of distractions at home, that’s the hard part – (kids, pets, tv, radio, social media, noise outside & inside, etc.) Find time in the am & evening – start once a day or break up half in am / half in evening. Write out a daily / weekly meditation plan – schedule on paper or electronic device – stick to it, no matter what. The action of doing / trying is what counts & carries the most weight. Find a comfortable seat on the floor or in a chair or on a cushion. In essence get comfortable – nice tall back so you can breathe (might be a little uncomfortable at first, since most of us have bad posture to begin with). Laying down might cause you to fall asleep – not the best option but if others do not work, give it a try to start out, than work towards seated cross leg, overtime.

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You’ll want to close your eyes & come into a state of quiet – where  you can experience conscious relaxation – different from sleep. Start with your eyes closed – set a timer when you start for ~5/10 minutes. Breathe in through the nose / out through the nose  – 3/4 counts in & out. Find a comfortable pattern of breathing (not forced) – start to make your breathing audible. Once you start, give yourself permission to be their in silence/stillness. Allow thoughts to come up & slow down. As thoughts come up – catch & release them. It’s ok for many thoughts to come up but always come back to your breathe. Breathe deep down into your lowest ribs / lungs & exhale it all the way out – don’t force it – just allow. Continue with your eyes closed for the whole time – as little movement as possible (key word ‘stillness’). It’s ok to have a little nervous energy, try to keep it it a minimum – stay with the practice with your eyes closed as best as you can.

 

Sports and Meditation: More efficient use of oxygen for the body. If you can improve your breathing, your performance with be at a  higher level on the field / court. Allow yourself to slow down – we are all used to a million miles an hour – Type A, etc. Meditation can improve your: concentration, focus better, improve your mental game, find the zone easier & stay in it longer, etc. “90% of the game is half mental” – Yogi Berra. At a certain level in sport – the only difference between the good & great athletes is between their ears.

I’m a good example of how meditation improved my athletic performance. I compete in duathlons – by improving my breathing (nose breathing only). Not only did it improve my focus & concentration levels but breathing was the key. I actually cut my race times down by several minutes or more. By breathing deep down into your lungs – I was able to produce oxygen more efficiently & perform at a high  level (less is more). I was able to run & bike – faster / harder – while being less tired. In essence, I could compete at a higher level with less effort. By breathing through my nose only – it allows the breathing process to be more effluence with cleaner air. Our nose has natural filters, hairs, that clean the air. By breathing though your mouth you can’t get enough oxygen far enough down into your lower lungs. Almost counter productive to mouth breath instead of nose breathing. It’s takes some time to learn & practice  this newer process – stick with it & the results will be phenomenal.

 

Related Article: How Meditation can make you a better athlete

 

Book Recommendation: ‘8 Minute Meditation – Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life.’ Victor Davich