Yesterday I watched this great TED video thanks to Sharon on Google+. In the video, Matt Cutts talks about the power of the 30 day challenge. Apparently that’s all the time you need to start or stop a habit. Mr. Cutts encourages us all to think of something that we have always wanted to do and commit to it for 30 days.
A blog post I read last week titled On Becoming Superhuman got me thinking about the importance of meditation and its benefits for athletic performance. That helped me to decide my 30 day challenge, but my only dilemma is, I don’t know how to meditate. I’m envisioning a monk, a lot of ommmmmmmm noises, and a picturesque background. I think I need to look into this…
Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and can even improve certain medical conditions
Meditation can also improve concentration, help us to detach and live in the present, increase our health, and provide us with a deeper knowledge of our being. The one area that I am interested in most is gaining a deeper knowledge of myself. I want to know my thoughts, understand my body, and know that I have the mental fortitude to keep going when I most want to quit.
So how does one meditate? One of my favorite motivational/inspirational websites Pick the Brain has a list of six steps to follow while meditating:
- Sit with a straight back. Don’t try to meditate lying down because you are likely to fall asleep. Meditation brings relaxation and peace but at the same time this is a dynamic peace. Meditation is quite different than the relaxation of sleep. When we really meditate, we are fully alert and conscious. Our sense of awareness is heightened. Afterwards you’ll have a positive feeling for the world and a renewed sense of dynamism.
- Don’t eat before meditating. After a heavy meal your body will be lethargic with digestion.
- It is not necessary to mediate in the lotus posture. It is fine to meditate in a chair, as long as the back is straight.
- It is helpful to take a shower before meditating.
- Burning incense and having a candle are not necessary, but they can add a little extra inspiration.
- It is good to meditate early in the morning. It is said the best time is 3am, although, I feel it is more important to be awake and not sleepy, I meditate at 6.30am.
This morning I had my first attempt at meditation. I started by lying down which I quickly realized was a bad idea. At 5:45am, that just meant going right back to sleep. However, once I sat up, I kind of got into the groove of things. Just for the record, clearing your mind is hard. I ended up doing more visualization of me kicking butt at my next race than clearing my mind and meditating. Beneficial? Perhaps, but not what I was suppose to be doing. I will try again tomorrow and 28 days after that. Hopefully if I can get the hang of this, it will become a daily habit and not just a 30 day challenge.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,