Over the last 18 months I have spent a great deal of my time outside of my school studying. It’s amazing that when things get tough or if we are facing some challenges we look for answers, a light at the end of the tunnel if you will. Are you facing some challenges in your life? Are you hoping to get some answers to questions you may have about your life? Well all these questions and so many more came to me and of course I had no answers. What tools can we use to help us answer these questions?
A few months back I wrote a blog about training and shared experiences of what it was like to live for an extended period of time in Thailand. One of the things I mentioned was the beauty of the culture and the traditions of the Thai people and how the fighters spent some quiet time at a temple before they would go and fight. I wanted to expand on that and give you some more insight into meditation and the effects it has on your training and your life in general.
I think that the first thing we need to do is define meditation. The following is a brief definition of meditation; Meditation – to engage in contemplation or reflection, to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over, to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. When you read it what comes to mind? As athletes, how can you use this to better prepare for competition?
Over the years there have been so many studies conducted on meditation and the effects it has on our brains and recently I saw an article on how meditation can actually change your DNA ( http://drdavidhamilton.com/harvard-study-finds-that-meditation-impacts-dna/ ). Without getting to scientific or even to spiritual, I want everyone to understand the basic principles of meditation and what the benefits are. There are so many kinds of meditation and people meditate for different reasons. I have been fortunate enough to have been taught and handed down a type of meditation that incorporates 5 different components of meditation
- Passive Meditation
- Active Meditation
- Guided Visualization
- Soothing Down
This system is called Max meditation and was developed by Dr. Gudni Gudnason and I am now using this technique at my school and offering Max meditation once a month at Lanna MMA. Most people that come to this class ask me what are the benefits of meditation? How can it help me? Well Dr. Gudnason has put together a whole list of reasons why meditation can benefit everyone;
- Reduces stress and tension
- Reduces emotional and physical pain
- Detachment of situations – LESS DRAMA
- Happiness and peace of mind
- Enhances energy strength and vigor
- AND SO MANY MORE
In fact, there are so many reasons why meditation can benefit you that there could be a blog just on the benefits.
As a martial artist, I think it is clear just by reading the benefits how we can use meditation to improve our training and competitions. One of the challenges athletes face in the ring or in the octagon is their emotions. How many times have you heard commentators or coaches speak of a fighter who lost the bout even before the fight started? I believe that with meditation and visualization you can overcome things like performance anxiety, over thinking the fight and the of course the emotions that come with competition.
Now that you know what meditation means and how it can benefit you the real question is… Will you start using it? Will you make it part of your daily routine? Every Tuesday at Lanna MMA I teach a class called Muay Thai for Body, Mind and Spirit. I hope that you will come out to this class and experience how meditation, yoga type stretching and energy exercises can help you in your everyday life. This month our max meditation is set for Sunday, December 14th, from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. I look forward to seeing some of you there and if you have any questions with regards to meditation please do not hesitate to contact me.
Kru Mel Bellissimo