Sports and Health

Meditation

And the route to mindfulness

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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. [National Institutes of Health]

  • 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 brain, including increased gray matter in the frontal cortex and reduction of the amygdala. [The Washington Post], [The American Journal of Psychiatry], [Science Daily]

Studies on meditation and relaxation have documented the following short-term benefits: [National Institutes of Health]

  • 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)
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Potential benefits of meditation

THE BELIEVERS

Relax

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

 

 

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. [TIME], [The Washington Post]

 

 

Brainpower

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. [The Atlantic]

THE DOUBTERS

Too religious 

Some people feel that meditation and yoga promote traditional religions and religious values. [The Atlantic] 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 preference ​​​​​​ – take a walk and observe nature, breath deeply before a stressful situation, or pause to pay attention to your surroundings at any moment. [Forbes]

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. [Medical News Today]
  • Check out apps that can be used to meditate on the go.
Key Vocabulary