By Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt
Meditation and Taekwondo (all martial arts for that matter) go hand in hand. In fact, athletes who have worked with us have reported that they feel and perform better when they meditate regularly as part of their training. Unfortunately, many taekwondo athletes and coaches do not incorporate meditation as part of their training.
While there are a number of ways to meditate, there really is no right or wrong way to do it. Ideally you want to meditate for at least 20-minutes before practice or competition; however, if you’re just beginning, 20-minutes is a goal you can work towards.
If you are looking to begin a mediation program but are unsure of where to start, below are a few tips with a nice bonus at the end!
- Find a quiet place. This can be in your bedroom, an office, or anyplace where you can have uninterrupted time. If your club can incorporate meditation into the taekwondo training program, you can use the dojang and meditate as a team, which is very powerful.
- Set a timer. Having a timer helps in case you “lose time”. Losing time happens when you get into a flow state. When this occurs, 20-minutes can feel like five minutes. I suggest beginning with five minutes. It’s OK if you only can do two minutes. You’ll find it easier to meditate longer as you practice.
- Set your intention. Essentially, this means to state what it is you want to focus on for either the day, this moment, or in general. For example, an athlete may have the intention of being fully focused on each movement in practice with the goal of perfecting their technique.
- Take a deep breath in and exhale. Breathe in slowly from the lowest part of your abdomen; hold it for as long as you can, then exhale slowly and forcefully through your mouth. Do this at least three times. You will notice that your body feels very relaxed and your mind is calmer.
- Focus on your breathing. As you meditate you want to focus on your breathing and enjoy each breath. This helps to focus your mind on something so random thoughts are lessened.
- Allow thoughts to come and go. When you do notice thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them and let them go without judgment. If you find yourself being disturbed with too many thoughts, go back to focusing on your breathing.
- When you feel calm and relaxed (or when your timer goes off), slowly come back to the room. Notice how great you feel and how much smoother your practices become!
Meditation works best if you do it the same time everyday or regularly before practices or tournaments. If you notice that you are unable to meditate for as long as you’d like or if you struggle with keeping a clear mind, it’s OK. Be patient with and have compassion for yourself; it takes time at first. As you develop the habit of meditating, you will become more proficient and comfortable with the process.
If you’d like to try it out for free, download a free taekwondo meditation here: http://highachievers.contentshelf.com/product?product=I13022200000139E
If you would like to learn more about how meditation and sport psychology can help you become a better athlete, then give us a call at 312-382-8710.
We have worked with athletes such as: Zach Budde, TJ Curry, Logan Weber, and Ethan Robinson.
With love and light, I wish you pleasant journeys.To learn more about the positive effects of meditation and its research, go to http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/meditation-heals-body-and-mind