I am currently working on including more mindfulness in my own program and with all clients. Which includes meditating and other mental programming. I have used variations on these themes with athletes to help improve focus, awareness, preparation, etc. In the past I included these types of things when the athlete was having difficulty overcoming things on the mental side. Now I am starting to include this type of programming in every clients approach to wellness. The more I learn about the mental side of health, the more I realize that it is every bit as important as the physical side. And both the physical and the mental sides are aided by each other.
Great comments so far!
The mind-body connection is real for sure.
Thoughts on this topic: “Can Yoga Replace Strength Training?”
It seems yoga, and meditation, compliment and amplify any physical activity/sport.
And likewise, physical strength and flexibility have the tendency to sharpen the mind.
A powerful synergy if someone: meditates + yoga + strength training.
I both mediate and teach meditation techniques. I also am a fitness professional and a yoga teacher (slightly different things I think) and used to be a personal trainer. I don’t lift the way I used to, but I do lift. In fact I am interested in a wide range of practices for health and self discovery.
There has been a lot of interest in meditation and its benefits, and a lot of research in this area: reduction of aggressive behaviors in a prison population, increased focus in school children, ability to tolerate pain in people with chronic pain, and reductions in anxiety in those with high levels, and so on.
I haven’t read a ton about the interface of bodybuilding and meditation, but I would expect that the promotion of mental focus and reduction of performance anxiety would be likely, and would be beneficial.
For me it is all about balance. Lifting weights builds strength, riding a bike strengthens the cardiovascular system…. they are both important. Reading strengthens my intellectual abilities, Attending an amnesty writing session or carrying boxes for the food bank enhances my social and emotional self. Meditation sits at the center of all the aspects of who I am and draws them together.
I would say the peace and focus meditation, and yoga, have brought to me allow me to enjoy my fitness rather than to see it as punishment for things I’ve eaten or as only about reaching an endpoint defined in percent of body fat. When I am exercising my earbuds are off, I am in the moment, and I am engaged without worry about what others think or how I look, or how many minutes I have gone.
And another one.
Mindfulness and meditation help you be present or “in the moment” with yourself. When you pay better attention, you perform better.
If you want a longer text, Apollo Ohno has a biography, “No Regrets,” which is a fantastic read. Meditation was a big part of his training, to develop the internal focus and discipline that made him the a top athlete in his sport.