The power of meditation and mindfulness in sport

August 16 2021

The power of meditation and mindfulness in sport

The art of living consciously.

Previous articles have commented on the benefits of performing Mindfulness and meditation exercises in controlling anxiety and stress or in emotional management, among many other uses. The mindfulness, atención full, mindfulness or mindfulness, is on everyone's lips, because who has not heard of mindfulness? We are bombarded by the need to carry out this activity and the multitude of benefits it has. But do we really know what it is? And more importantly, do we know how it is practiced?

Mindfulness means consciously paying attention to the experience of the present moment without playing, with interest, curiosity and acceptance. It is defined as a moment of full presence and full awareness of oneself and the situation. But, now let's think, how many things throughout the day do we do with mindfulness? You don't even eat, how many times do you eat watching TV, on a call, answering WhatsApp, checking social networks or thinking about what we have to do next?

This excess of stimuli and at load mental generates a saturation and psychological fatigue that can distort the filter with which we see things and how we analyze them. What affects how we feel, how we behave and finally how others perceive us.

Mindfulness is not a novelty in sports, Phil Jacksons, former basketball player and coach, with the record of winning 11 NBA titles. As a coach he had a philosophy “one breath, one mind"" One breath, one mind. " He made use of mindfulness in training and later in competitions, relying on the main idea that just as NBA players did weights, ran, trained their physique, they also need to train and enhance their mental strength. 

Phil Jackson

When we are aware of what is happening around us, but especially when we are aware of ourselves, we pay attention, makes us have thoughts and behaviors focused on taking care of ourselves more, respecting ourselves more and knowing ourselves better, which affects our physical and psychological health.

Performing mindfulness and meditation exercises regularly has a number of benefits for us:

  • We pay more attention to our health
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Increase our self-esteem
  • Promotes self-care
  • Help you sleep better
  • Develop emotional intelligence skills
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Boost creativity
  • Improve interpersonal relationships
  • Decreases aggressiveness and hostility
  • Reduces the feeling of fatigue, both physical and mental
Mindfulness in sport

    In general, it clears the mind and frees it, allowing us to connect with the present and focus on ourselves, with a full acceptance of our sensations, emotions and thoughts "without judging them", all this directly influences our well-being. In this case, in our sports wellness. And when an athlete is comfortable, with optimal levels of self-esteem, activation, motivation and concentration, he is able to enjoy what he is trained and to do it fully, which is why he does it better, his execution is more precise. Therefore, practicing Mindfulness also favors sports performance.

    I encourage you now, to make a little exercise, to better understand what Mindfulness is, and how you can do it.

    1. The first thing is to find a quiet place, with little noise and not too excessive lighting. Sit in a comfortable posture, I recommend placing your feet flat on the floor, your back against the wall, your shoulders low and your hands well on your knees or on your belly. Keep your back straight, for this you can slightly lower your chin to your chest. Close your eyes.
    2. Begin by focusing your attention on where you are, the central place where you are, the present moment.
    3. Then spend a few seconds thinking about how you are doing right now.
    4. Focus on your physical sensations, take a mental journey through all the parts of your body analyzing one by one how they are, relaxed, tense, fatigued ...
    5. Outline a small smile and evaluate the effect it has on your body and mind.

    Now start by focusing your attention on your breathing, focus on how the air enters and leaves. Notice how the air goes through your body and provides energy and satisfaction wherever it goes. If at any time you perceive that your mind is fleeing to the future or the past, observe it, accept that it is there and in a kind way and without playing, refocus on your breathing.

    LeBron James

    When you want, go little by little by opening your eyes and analyzing what sensations you have had throughout the exercise and which ones you have now.

    The ideal is to do Mindfulness exercises several times a week, take a few minutes to focus on ourselves and eliminate ruminative thoughts. When one takes the habit, it generates a source of inner well-being and personal satisfaction. Which is extrapolated, as with Phil Jacksons with his players, to our athletic performance.

    As a final conclusion, I would like to share that little poem by the philosopher Michel de Montaigne, where he emphasizes the idea of ​​enjoying the specific activity that is being carried out, being fully in it.

    When I dance, I dance.

    When I sleep, I sleep.

    And when I walk through a forest, if my thinking drifts to distant matters, I lead it back to the path, to the beauty of my solitude.

    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592).

    Leticia Montoya


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