Meditation
shutterstock 275140940

Sports and Health

Meditation

And the route to mindfulness

WHAT IT IS

  • Meditation is a practice that engages both the mind and body.

  • Meditation is often used as a natural treatment for a variety of illnesses and conditions.1

  • People meditate for the various reasons, including boosting overall health, well-being, and self-awareness.

FORMS OF MEDITATION

Transcendental

Focusing on a single thing for 15-20 minutes.
Typically involves repeating a mantra or series of Sanskrit words.

 

Famous Practitioner: Katy Perry 

 

Mindfulness

Observing wandering thoughts as they enter and exit your mind. Over time, you may recognize patterns of how your mind works.

 

Famous Practitioner: Jon Kabat-Zinn

Guided or Zen

Having a trained instructor

guide you through observation of breath and mind through seated meditation.

 

Famous Practitioner: Dalai Lama

Kundalini Yoga

Specific and careful practice of body, breath, mantra, and mudra (hand position).

 

Famous Practitioner: Jennifer Aniston

WHY IT MATTERS

 

Meditation has proven physical effects on the brain2, including increased gray matter in the frontal cortex3 and reduction of the amygdala.4

Studies on meditation and relaxation have documented the following short-term benefits:5

  • Improved blood circulation

  • Lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • Less perspiration (sweat)
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels
  • Feelings of well-being
  • Less stress and deeper relaxation
  • Weight loss (through conscious eating)
934be03d aab6 4677 b1cb 7051fcfedd11 1

Potential benefits of meditation

THE BELIEVERS

Relax

Studies have shown that practicing meditation as a daily relaxation method can help relieve stress.6

 

 

Healthy mutation

Meditation can alter the expression of an individual’s genes. These changes can positively affect the mitochondria, insulin production, and other genes related to energy levels.7 8

 

 

Brain power

Working memory and concentration skills can be improved with meditation. One study found that students who took a meditation class significantly increased their standardized-test scores.9

THE DOUBTERS

Too religious 

Some people feel that meditation and yoga promote traditional religions and religious values.10 This poses complications for people of other faiths.

religions and meditation

Other paths

There are other ways to live a mindful life if meditation is not your preference11 – take a walk and observe nature, breath deeply before a stressful situation, or pause to pay attention to your surroundings at any moment.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • A recent study from Brown University found that women may benefit more from mindfulness-based meditation than men. Read more here.

  • Mindful eating has helped overweight and obese individuals lose weight.12
  • Check out apps that can be used to meditate on the go.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Read more about how to meditate.13
  • See more tips for maintaining well-being. 

  • Click for a guide to meditations based on the situation.

  • How can you best incorporate meditation into daily life?

Key Vocabulary