Achieve Mindfulness and Inner Peace Through Yoga Meditation

You’ve probably heard about mindfulness a lot lately as it’s constantly in the media and has been widespread at fitness and wellness centers. To put it simply, Mindful.org describes it as the ability to be fully aware in the present moment. It’s a state of not being overly reactive or overwhelmed with what’s happening around you. It’s not to say that if you meditate, you will never be stressed. But it’s one of the simplest ways to manage your emotions and your thoughts so you can handle difficult situations better.

Experts and people who have mastered the practice will tell you it’s not a cure-all formula, but rather a lifestyle choice that can help you adopt healthier habits. ABC News’ “Nightline” co-anchor and meditation practitioner Dan Harris said meditation has helped boost his focus and productivity while making him less emotionally reactive. “I think it has also made me calmer, more patient and generally easier to be around,” he said. Doing yoga and meditating can help you train your mind to stay in the present moment and when you can do that, you will be able to affect how you react to pressure and stress.

No one knows stress and pressure like professional athletes. The demand to perform is evident in the sports industry, but more and more athletes have found that yoga and meditation can help. In fact, the LA Lakers’ LeBron James is an avid yogi. The four-time MVP is one of the most recognizable basketball players in the world and a great deal of his edge on and off the court is not only attributed to his natural talent, dedication, and strong work ethic but also to the fact that he meditates regularly. In an interview with the LA Times, James said that he felt “kinda weird about it” at first. He remarked that, “I got more and more comfortable with my inner self, inner spirits and inner energy and things of that nature, I guess. So, it works for me.”

Beach volleyball dynamic duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh also swear by yoga, meditation, and visualization, along with basketball greats Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry. But apart from being less emotionally reactive, how else does meditation help athletes perform better in their respective sports? For one, it helps with reducing stress, which athletes know as a necessary tool to achieve optimal performance. Feeling relaxed and centered can also increase the ability to stay calm—leading to better decision-making.

Australian BMX world champion Caroline Buchanan told ABC News that whenever she would feel an overwhelming sense of fear during a race, she would use a secret tool to overcome it—meditation. “When the fear starts coming in, that was when I really found that mindfulness was the best strategy for me to be able to make peace in those situations,” she said. As much as having fast reflexes and strength helps your performance, the ability to stay calm and focused in the heat of competition can give you an edge which can mean the difference between winning or losing. “It’s that one percent difference which can mean you are a world champion or you’re not,” Buchanan said.

Athletes aren’t the only people who can benefit from yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. In fact, anyone who can keep up with the practice regularly will be able to see greatly improved sleeping patterns, better relationships, more compassion and generally better moods. Preliminary evidence also shows practitioners who meditate regularly show stronger immune response and less anxiety. Long-term meditators have also been found to have improved blood circulation. Meditation can help boost self-control and the ability to introspect, which means you will be able to more effectively filter out internal and external “noise” as well as negative self-conversations that can muddle your perception. 

There are a lot of benefits to be had with yoga and meditation. The key is consistency and dedication. 

Written by Alyssa Allaine
Exclusive for meditationsteppingstones.com


Deb Phelps

Deb has studied and practiced meditation since 1980. In 39 years, she has explored a wide range of different meditation traditions: Mindfulness, Hindi, Buddhist, Centering Prayer, Self-Realization Fellowship, Transformation Meditation, Hindi, Modern Psychology, Yoga, and A Course in Miracles, to name a few. She has several certifications both in meditation and mindfulness. Two of which she was mentored by former Buddhist monks. As a lifelong learner, she continues to attend training for personal and professional growth.

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