The Power of Mindfulness and Meditation in Sport
Modern sports may seem a far stretch away from Ayurveda but not really. In fact several sports players, international and Indian alike report choosing to live a natural life, even adopting Ayurvedic medicinal practices into their routine and regimen to ensure their winning streak. There are, however, two major takeaways in terms of sports techniques to up the game for any sports enthusiasts or anyone who wants to perform better at anything. Yup anything.
These two concepts are mindfulness and meditation. Winning at sports and at life does involve a lot more than being mindful and meditating, but just these two techniques could be the leverage that makes you a winner.
Mindfulness has often been thought of as a sure path towards spiritual enlightenment. It suggests to devote one’s faculties and resources to the present moment. Allowing full thought and concentration towards the task at hand and nothing else. Mindfulness can be practiced and achieved by anyone, and meditation is a good way to get there. But before we get to meditation, this is why some of the best sports players who practice mindfulness excel in their field.
Now it might seem obvious, mindfulness is akin to focus. Being focused is great for sports, and will be for any task. But what about failure? This is where mindfulness adopts a sort of stoicism, being mindful in the face of adversity or failure allows for clear thought on what caused the failure and what to do next. Michael Jordan in a famous TV commercial mentions his failures. But without failure one cannot understand how to improve, being mindful in the face of this allows failure to become an opportunity, a platform to reach new levels of performance. In life or in sports. You can check out the MJ video below.
A long standing tradition in Ayurveda, meditation has only recently been adopted into Western mainstream. For good reason too. Meditation is a means of emptying the mind to gain clarity. Studies have shown that meditation practiced as a habit can help to reduce stress, to drastically bring down the risk of heart disease. And we have barely scratched the surface. Similar to mindfulness, meditation gives focus and clarity. But there are many types of meditation that all involve around focusing and decluttering the mind.
One common trend is visualization. Here the outcome of winning, making the shot, or anything positive is visualized before the actual event has come to pass. In some ways this is just effective strategy. Having a mental to-do list of what is needed to be done, a plan of action. All within the power of one’s mind. Nowadays, coaches are often hired for a pregame meditation session to use positive visualization techniques before the big game. You could apply this to a project that needs to be executed, or a client who needs to be closed. The possibilities are limitless.
Go on, win the game.