meditation and sport

Can meditation make you a better runner?

Chris Cox, The Guardian: A celebrated lama’s new book [Running with the Mind of Meditation] recommends training the mind in conjunction with the body. But can sitting on a cushion before pounding the pavements really make you run further and faster?

Recently, I’ve been training for the Edinburgh half-marathon. But instead of seeking advice from the usual quarters, I’ve been taking tips from a Tibetan meditation master. In just a short time, following his advice has changed how I think about two things I’ve been doing for some years now: running and meditating. Rather than being separate activities, I’m starting to …

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Indian golf star Anirban Lahiri counting on meditation for victory

Indian star Anirban Lahiri will be banking on meditation to guide him to a successful title defence at the Panasonic Open India which starts on Thursday.

The in-form Lahiri will lead an international cast of Asian Tour stars at the Delhi Golf Club which includes Ben Fox of the United States, Prom Meesawat of Thailand, the highest ranked player this week, Siddikur of Bangladesh and Indian-specialist Rikard Karlberg of Sweden.

Lahiri credited his meditation for his superb form this year where he won his second Asian Tour title at the SAIL-SBI Open at the same venue last month and qualified for his maiden …

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Yoga as a competitive sport. Really?

Sara Beck, NYT: For Kelsea Bangora, New York’s 2011 yoga asana champion, the conversation usually goes like this:

“Yoga champion? How does that work?”

“Well, it’s like a dance performance, sort of, or a gymnastics routine, but not really.”

“So, can you touch your head with your feet?”

“Well, of course”

Typically, she does not demonstrate.

“I don’t want to show off,” she said. “I mean, my own students don’t even know I’m a champion.”

Others will be vying for that title when the United States Yoga Federation hosts the ninth New York Regional and National Yoga Asana Championship from Friday night through Sunday …

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How does the Michigan basketball team get its mind right? By meditating

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The Michigan basketball team has battled its share of shooting slumps this season.


  • Sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has made 13 of his last 47 shots (27.7 percent).
  • Junior guard Matt Vogrich’s shooting percentage of 37.0 is the lowest of his career.
  • Sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz went 4-for-25 in a four-game stretch in January.

Michigan coach John Beilein’s best solution for each slump has been continued repetition, forcing each player to shoot his way out of a funk. His secondary solution?

That’d be meditation.

“We (meditate) throughout the year, and we try to teach them some things about how to relax,” Beilein said Friday “A lot of athletes use it, and it’s important if they’re going to see themselves in positive (situations).”

Beilein says meditation allows each player to visualize themselves having success, whether that be a 3-point shooting slump, a free-throw funk or any other challenging situation in life.

Which is why he practices meditation as well.

“There’s a lot of ways to meditate. You can meditate through prayer and all sorts (of different ways),” he said….

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Ultimate Fighting Championship Light Heavyweight champ Jon Jones meditates before big fight

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Before facing and defeating Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida in the mixed martial arts Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones spent some time meditating at a scenic waterfall on the Ball’s Falls conservation area on the Niagara Peninsula.

“It was really beautiful but it was so cold out there I could only meditate for about maybe 15 minutes because I didn’t want to get sick,” Jones said Saturday night after defeating Machida.

“I got a good 12 minutes in but the job was done,” he added. “We felt really refreshed and our spirits were lifted on the ride back to the hotel. So mission complete.”

Both fighters on Saturday night are into meditation. “The fact that [Machida’s] into meditation like I am, the fact that he’s a student like I am — he has my utmost respect,” Jones said.

This isn’t the first time that Jones has been spotted meditating at a scenic spot before a big fight. In March, Jones was en route to Great Falls Historic Park in Paterson, New Jersey, to meditate ahead of his fight against Maurício “Shogun” Rua, along with his coaches Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson. As their driver prepared to drop them off, Jones observed an elderly couple screaming for help. The woman informed Winkeljohn that a man had smashed her car window and run off with her GPS. The 205 lb Jones, along with his two coaches, chased after the robber, caught and tripped him, and held him down until the police arrived.


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Cycling course offers meditation, competition outlets

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The DePauw: Students in professor Kent Menzel’s class watch a peregrine falcon soar at speeds of 180 mph.

These students aren’t bird-watchers – they’re cyclists in the winter term course Science of Cycling. Menzel had started class that day with a nature video to emphasize the falcon’s athleticism.

According to him, both cycling and flying demand natural form and technique. The Science of Cycling class consists of workouts and exercises that develop these skills.

DePauw racing team member and sophomore Aaron Fioritto said he’s learned “breathing, body control, relaxation, and recovery” from his mentor and professor. Students have also skipped in rhythm, worked on posture, and practiced fluid pedal strokes on the bike.

Menzel said he believes the course’s benefits also extend into other classrooms: “How would you rather go into a midterm exam? Nervous, tense, everything out of alignment, or steady, aware, and calm – everything lined up to get the knowledge you have out onto paper?” Menzel said.

Freshman Arthur Small agreed that “it develops work ethic and a sense of accomplishment.”

The class rides indoors on stationary bikes equipped with resistance trainers. After lessons on technique, the cyclists mount their bikes and ride for 1-2 hours. Students either listen to music, watch videos of old Tour de France races, or pedal to training videos during class.

Many of the students will compete in DePauw’s annual Little 5 bike race.

“It’s been the incubator for Little 5 champions and great riders,” Menzel said.

Professional cyclists Phil Mann ’06 and Phil Mooney ’07 are two graduates of the course, which addresses both the theory and practice of cycling.

“The modern athlete is very out of touch with their body because we’re out there so much, on computer screens, iPhones, and living artificially through Facebook,” Menzel said.

Menzel suggests aspiring riders “spend more time on the bike” until they find a good body rhythm.

Freshman Carson White described the sensation as “feeling connected – heart and bike.”

Small said it felt like “there’s nothing else in the world going on except you on that bike, spinning.”

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Clijsters interested in meditation, Thai cooking

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wildmind meditation news

Bangkok Post: US Open champion Kim Clijsters will learn some meditation and Thai cooking during her visit to Hua Hin where she will meet Caroline Wozniacki in an exhibition match on New Year’s Day.

The 84 World Tennis Invitation will be held at the Intercontinentatl Hua Hin Resort and is part of the celebrations of His Majesty the King’s 84th birthday.

In an interview with the organisers, Clijsters said this would be her first visit to Thailand and she wanted to learn about Thai culture.

“I am looking forward to it. An exhibition game gives us a little more opportunity to enjoy the country or city where you are,” said the Belgian.

“I really like to know more about your culture and I’m interested in the spiritual way of life. There is a meditation session scheduled with some monks.”

The world’s third-ranked player added: “Elephant riding is another thing I would like to experience.

“Cooking is one of my favourite activities when I’m at home and I love Asian spices and ingredients.”

She said the exhibition match would be part of her preparations for next month’s Australian Open.

The three-time US Open champion said she wanted to win one Grand Slam or more next year, particularly Wimbledon.

“My father used to be a football player so grass is the ultimate surface in his eyes,” she said.

The other match of the exhibition features American twins Bob and Mike Bryan against Thai twins Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana.

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The sanity pause

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Julie Deardorff, Chicago Tribune: Meditation is a brain-boosting, stress-busting activity embraced by everyone from the U.S. military to corporate executives. And if you’re living a busy, hectic life – and can’t fathom finding time to sit cross-legged in a quiet room – you’re an ideal candidate too.

“The people who race through their life are usually the ones who could use some focus and serenity,” said Tamara Gerlach, a San Francisco-based meditation teacher.

Every day thousands of thoughts zip through our heads, something Gerlach likens to a jar of dirty water: Keep shaking up the jar and it will remain clouded. But “if we set the jar down, letting the dirt particles settle to the bottom, it leaves clarity at the top.”

Meditation, proponents say, teaches you how to replace the mental chatter in your head with stillness. This ability helps us live more consciously.

Q: What is meditation?

A: It’s the “art and practice of being present for your life,” said meditation teacher Elesa Commerse. The key words here are “art and practice.” Meditation re- quires effort and patience, especially in the beginning. One of the biggest obstacles for beginners is that they get bored or expect Dalai Lama-like results overnight. Meditation can be relaxing, but relaxing isn’t meditation. Meditation is sitting with a purpose.

Q: How does it work?

A: There are many forms, but all involve focusing on a single stimulus, such as your breath, a particular word, or an image. Get your body in a comfortable position. When random thoughts barge into your head, label it as “a thought” and bring your attention back to your chosen stimulus, such as your breath.

“It’s like training a puppy,” Jack Kornfield said in “Meditation for Beginners.” “You say ‘stay,’ but after a few breaths, the puppy wanders away. You go back and gently pick it up and bring it back.” Kornfield says learning to sit still and become mindful is one of the most important forms of meditation.

Q: When should I meditate?

A: Whenever you can. Executive meditation coach Mark Thornton was once chief operating officer for JP Morgan; he found that taking micro-meditation breaks while moving during the day could be just as profound as going on a retreat. “I thought meditation was something you did on your own; in fact it can be an integral part of the day,” said Thornton, author of “Meditation in a New York Minute.”

Q: Can I meditate while I ride a bike or run?

A: It’s possible to practice mindfulness in any activity, said Joseph Goldstein, who has led meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. “It means paying attention to what we’re doing, rather than having our minds wander.”

Q: How do I fight boredom?

A: Actually, boredom is a sign that meditation is working. “It means you’re learning to shift your attention away from your mind, which wants complex puzzles to solve,” said Thornton. If you’re bored, you may have lost sight that every moment in life is unique, Commerse said. “When you’re in the present moment, “every leaf, blade of grass, brush of wind, bird song, baby’s cry, every everything becomes magical, alive, discoverable and infused with the ability to transform your life,” she said.

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Thai golfer uses meditation to improve game

Lim Teik Huat, The Star: Asian Tour legends, a history maker and rising stars from the region are poised to light up the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.

Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat, who holds the world’s 72-hole scoring record, and compatriot Thaworn Wiratchant, an 11-time winner in Asia, will spearhead the elite field in the tournament at the Seri Selangor Golf Club from Aug 4-7.

The Thai duo will be joined in the RM1.2mil event by a pack of talented players, including youngsters Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri of India, Singaporean Quincy Quek and Malaysia’s Akhmal Tarmizee.

Chapchai has been one of Asia’s most exciting players to emerge in recent years and he cemented his place in history by winning the SAIL Open in India last year with a stunning four-round total of 32-under 256.

The big-hitting 27-year-old Thai, nicknamed King Kong, is eager to challenge for a fourth career victory at the Selangor Masters.

“My season started slowly earlier in the year but my form has improved,” said Chapchai.

“I tried to make some swing changes after my victory at the SAIL Open but I couldn’t get used to it. My swing is feeling more comfortable now and I’m confident of doing well.”

While he has yet to miss a cut this season, Chapchai’s best performance was tied 13th at the Queens Cup on home soil in June.

He is also relying on his constant meditation to keep an even keel in his hopes for more glory at the Selangor Masters.

“Meditation helps me to keep my focus and that helps in my overall game. I hope to do my best,” said Chapchai, who finished second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007.

Bhullar is highly regarded as one of the future stars to emerge from India. He lived up to expectations by claiming a second Asian Tour victory at the season-opening Asian Tour International in Thailand.

His best finish in the Selangor Masters was a tied-32nd place last season and he will be looking forward to better his results.

Thaworn, who has won two Asian Tour titles in Malaysia, is in fine form.

He has missed only one cut this season and will be determined to make amends for not getting to play four rounds at the Selangor Masters last year.

Australia’s Marcus Both, winner of the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open last year, is hoping to turn his season around. The two-time Asian Tour winner has missed four cuts thus far.

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Phil Jackson set to retire?

Phil Jackson’s career may end with 11 NBA Championships, as it appears Phil is close to retiring…for good.

“I’m leaning towards retiring,” he said, “but I have not made up my mind.” His final decision will come sometime next week. Jackson, 64, is undergoing various medical tests, the results of which will weigh heavily in his decision.

“Some of it’s about health, some of it’s about that’s the way I feel right now. I’ve had vacillating feelings about it. It’s hard not to feel like coming back when you’re speaking to these players and have an opportunity to coach a team that’s this good. But, it’s what I feel like right now and what I feel like in the process that’s gone through. It’s just something I’m going to sit with and feel out and after I’m through talking about all the rest of it with the doctors, then I’ll make the final decision.”

Phil Jackson’s 11 NBA Titles are most all time by a coach. He also won two as a player. Phil was conspicuously absent from the Laker’s victory parade, Monday, which the coach attributed to having to undergo medical tests.

Whether or not Phil Jackson decides on returning to the Lakers next season, he will always be remembered for his calm demeanor, his quirky quotes, and his love of meditation. I’m confident he will make the right decision .

[via Gack Sports]
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