The important thing is I have come around and now understand a regular meditation practice has very tangible physical and mental benefits. Specifically for athletes who are used to being cranked up for competition, it is necessary to stimulate the para-sympathetic nervous system to ground them or eventually they are going to find their tank is empty. Meditation also helps gain control over the breath which can be vitally important when hand-eye control is required like making a free throw, catching a pass or throwing a strike.
Finally, I can't really explain why, but meditation helps athletes find and maintain occupancy in "the zone." You know "the zone," that phenomena when the goal or basket seems to be a mile wide, or your opponents seem to be moving in slow motion. All athletes seek time in the zone and meditation can help get them there.
At this point, you are convinced I am right, and can't wait to get started. Right... I know that look, I've cracked tougher nuts than you. Just try this short "focus exercise" for five days in a row. If you hate it, give up, go ahead you big quitter. (Dropping some old school coaching on you there). Really, just try it I sincerely believe you will find it beneficial.
Now, just like one set of sit-ups won't give you ripped abs, one meditation, sorry focus exercise, won't bring you enlightenment, but keep it up for 5 days in a row (maybe twice a day if you can hack it) and see what it does for your performance. I bet you will notice something you can't quite put you finger on, you'll feel sharper, clearer, more in control. In short, better.
Here is a cheat sheet for that focus exercise:
By Tara Kestner
Previously published on Next Level Yoga's Blog
Tara Kestner is a registered yoga instructor who specializes in working with athletes of all levels. She designs programs based on specific sport requirements and challenges. Utilizing the principle that strength plus flexibility equals power, her classes give athletes the tools they need to enhance their performance. Tara is the owner of Next Level Yoga, Ltd., in Toledo, Ohio.
Start down the road to enlightenment with the following YogaDownload "focus exercise" Classes:
Yoga Nidra - Celest Pereira
Arrive in the Present Moment - Jackie Casal Mahrou
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