I recently had a conversation with a client who said he felt like he already meditated because he was always “in his head”. I enjoyed explaining to him that for our purposes, the intent was to “get out of your head”. We want to detach from our thoughts to a point that we don’t identify with them or allow them to define us. Thoughts are simply thoughts, nothing else. When we’re able to do this, we can truly perform at our best potential because we don’t allow our mindset to be detrimental to our skillset.
In our online meditations, we practice visualization techniques. When we’re able to successfully visualize a specific goal or movement and block out our thoughts or fears about that goal, we are more likely to achieve greatness. It may seem counterintuitive to sit in stillness and silence as opposed to being on the field or in the cages, but we find that it’s when you’re off the field you’re able to find clarity and simplicity in your goals. And frankly, if your mental state is not on point, your physical game will suffer.
The practice of meditation is crucial for all athletes. If you are at the top of your game and crushing the competition, you want to stay there. If you are struggling to compete with your peers physically, gaining a mental edge will propel you forward – closer to your goals.
Let’s dive a little more into why you need to meditate and how you can go about utilizing this powerful tool to become a well-rounded athlete. And if nothing else, get a little downtime where nothing is required of you except to breathe. It might be common knowledge that meditation can create a calming effect on your psyche. And that’s an accurate statement but there are several other benefits of meditation that have been backed by scientific research.
According to Sport Psychology Today, the positive effects of meditation can include stress reduction, improved concentration and better self-awareness.
Currently, athletes are under extreme stress. From covid restrictions affecting playtime, community support, and atypical movement platform, athletes aren’t able to thrive in their typical environments. Not to mention the stress that comes with recruiting, school work, image, parents, personal expectations, and coaches. Meditation can have an invaluable impact on the athlete’s headspace. Whether in training or competition, the ongoing effort to improve can create stress. Having a meditation practice that you can access anywhere, anytime can give you the tools you need to focus when it’s time to get back on the field. Meditation frees your mind and allows you to focus on what’s important.
I love this one because I feel like it doesn’t need much explanation. Generally, athletes are capable of doing many things extremely well. Athletes can also get bored quickly and get distracted with the small steps because the eye is always on the prize. Our meditation videos and techniques paired with yoga can drastically improve focus at any level. This is easily imagined if you think about keeping your eye on the ball. You cannot connect the bat to the ball if you’re thinking about getting to third base or what you’re going to do in the bottom of the ninth. You have to focus on the task at hand. Meditating in peace will give you the appropriate tools for succeeding when it matters most – on the field.
This can sound a lot like focus and concentration but it’s a bit more focused on awareness of our emotions and views. Self-awareness is the key to moving away from comparison and competing solely with yourself. Looking inward to recognize your patterns, emotions and tendencies can help you identify destructive habits or movements and allow you to take the appropriate action for improvement. Meditate to be a better natural leader for yourself and your teammates.
OK, cool so we know meditation is great but how do we do it? Meditation can be done anywhere, anytime, with no equipment. You can access our portal right now to listen to guided meditations on topics like resilience, confidence, and competition. All you have to do is maybe pop in some headphones, find a seat, breathe deeply and close your eyes. This allows you to shut out distractions and spend some time on building a performance mindset. There is no bad time to start. You can start young, or old. You just have to start.
Will it be weird? A little. Will it be hard? No, but it’ll be different. Will it be worth it? Yes, absolutely yes.
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Bomar is the co-owner of Yoga Athletex LLC. She was an athlete from the age of 4, playing multiple sports competitively at the club level for 14 years. Her college years included club and intramural sports. She earned her B.S. in Sport Management from Texas A&M in 2007. While studying she worked under the TAMU Track & Field coach, as a personal trainer following the NSCA – CSCS program. At the time she was also a volleyball and softball coach and was an avid member of CrossFit. In 2013 she earned her 200 hour yoga certification and in 2015 earned her 300 hour yoga certification. Currently she has earned the ERYT500 standard. Shortly after, she became certified in Functional Movement Systems (FMSC). In 2017, she acquired her NASM – CPT certificate and continues to attend several intensives and workshops to stay up to date with current exercise science. Her latest certification was the fitness nutrition specialist (FNS) acquired through NASM. She is currently an official education provider for the National Academy of Sport Medicine, Athletics and Fitness Association of America and the Yoga Alliance. With over 17 years experience, Patricia has a strong passion for bringing the healing benefits of yoga to her fellow athletes for injury prevention and increased performance.
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