Meditation blog

 Sports and meditation: A winning combination

Well-known for its numerous benefits, meditation is a mental exercise that has been part of our daily routine for ages. It can take many forms and has many purposes. For instance, it is a way of learning to control our thoughts by increasing our awareness of the present moment. By practicing it, one learns to live in the "now". Depending on our initial intentions, it is also said that meditation can help improve our level of happiness as well as our sports performance.

The many benefits of meditation

According to many experts, meditation helps significantly reduce stress and anxiety.  As it teaches us to guide our thoughts into a more positive mindset, we circumvent losing energy by avoiding the anticipation of an event that cannot be controlled. It is even used in some forms of therapy as a way to treat depression.

The practice of meditation also has a positive impact on memory and cognitive functions. Since we tend to be constantly overstimulated, concentration has become a rare commodity. Meditation is an efficient way of gradually regaining it.

The benefits of meditation are not just psychological, they are also physical. If we are less anxious and less stressed, our cardiovascular health will be better and our sleep too. In other words, it’s a win-win situation.

Meditation to be a better athlete

It is well known that sports performance depends almost as much on the body as it does on the mind. To help reach the infamous balance between body and mind, more and more coaches and trainers are adding meditation to their training programs.

As previously mentioned, meditation increases our ability to concentrate by teaching us how to live in the present moment. In sports, being in the "now" means listening to your body all while focusing on the movement itself. For instance, during a short or a long run, you don’t think about the distance left to run but rather about the sensations in your body while running: your breath, your legs, your posture, etc. Focusing on your body and its movements will also allow you to immediately feel all the physical and psychological benefits of training.

How to practice meditation

First, you must understand that there is no right or wrong way to meditate. If a technique sounds appealing to you, go ahead, try it! Traditionally, meditation is practiced alone in a sitting position, still and in silence. That being said, some people practice it while walking, others like to do it with music on or even in groups. If the sitting position is uncomfortable during your first attempts, try to meditate on your back with your calves placed on a chair.

A good way to prevent thoughts from taking over is to become aware of your breathing and its effect on your body. It is recommended to breathe through the nose with the mouth closed.

Meditating is free and simple, but it's not necessarily easy. Patience and practice are key factors here. That's why it's important to start gradually. Once you have found the position that suits you, start by meditating for 5 minutes, then 10, then 15. Over time, it will become easier and you will be able to enjoy the myriad of benefits that meditation has to offer.