Entering the flow state with mindfulness
Workshops on: ‘Mindfulness Based Practices for Sports Performance’ to ‘Building the Everyday Athlete’
Imagine yourself seated on a boulder just behind a waterfall. The smell of the fresh rain water tickles your nose as the coolness surrounds you. The gentle drips and splashes create a way for your mind to quiet, while your awareness is settled only on your breath. Now imagine taking this escape every day!
Mindfulness practice is a way to reset your intentions each day; a time to reconnect with yourself and get into the flow state of performance. Furthermore, research published in “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience” has shown evidence that meditation is associated with:
Decreased depression and anxiety
Decreased pain and insomnia
Increased quality of life
That research, titled “Change in brainstem gray matter concentration following a mindfulness-based intervention is correlated with improvement in psychological well-being,” found that meditation and mindfulness practice not only decreases stress but can literally change the brain. The evidence shows that mindfulness practice done each day will have positive health benefits including enhancing sports performance and overall well-being.
Start by doing one of the following exercises for 10 minutes each day.
Seated Meditation: Begin by closing your eyes in a comfortable position either seated or lying down. If seated, align your spine so each vertebra stacks one on top of the other. Next, take in deep breaths filling it from the belly. Fully exhale. As you exhale begin to relax and bring attention to your facial muscles, then your jaw and throat. Continue to other areas of the body until you feel completely relaxed.
Walk in Nature: Take this time to bring your attention to the beauty of your surroundings. Let go of thinking about being a professional, a parent or the constant need for achieving excellence. Allow this time to be just for you, to truly appreciate the beauty around you.
Yoga Meditation: Start in a standing position with feet next to each other, arms down by your side with palms facing out. Take three deep breaths in this position. On the third lift the arms up and flow through three sun salutations of your choice. Pick two to three poses to flow through as part of your sun salutation. This mini yoga practice will help bring you back into your body and clear your mind, allowing you to move forward with a clearer and more alert mind.
Journaling: Four Things I am Grateful For and Why. This powerful tool can take your mind from a negative downward spiral to initiating a pathway of clear, compassionate thought.
Be Creative: Sing, dance, draw or just laugh! Changing your train of thought can give you clear perspectives on your surroundings and situations. Allow yourself to be truly you! Life can be overwhelming: staying connected to ourselves through the practice of mindfulness can help bring creativity, clarity, passion and overall happiness to our journey.
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