The purpose of meditation is to relax the body and the mind. Through constant practice, you can learn to control certain functions of the body with the mind. This works well for athletes who are trying to increase their performance. When you can control your thinking and how your body responds, you can overcome many obstacles - not only in the sports arena but in life in general.
So how do you get started? Meditation is not that hard to learn. You already know most of it. The first thing to do is find a comfortable place to begin. You don’t want to be interrupted so don’t sit in the middle of the living room if the kids are about to get home from school.
Also, be sure you are well rested and alert. Meditation shouldn’t make you fall asleep, but should teach you to relax your mind and body.
You don’t have to sit with crossed legs if that is uncomfortable. Meditation is more effective, however, if you have good posture. It is hard to breathe if you are slouching. For those who don’t sit up straight, it may take some getting used to. Sit against a chair or wall at first.
Breathing meditation is about just that – concentrating on your breathing. Instead of chanting, you use your breathing as the focal point of the exercise. Once you have found a comfortable spot where you won’t be interrupted, begin to breathe. This is focused breathing so it needs to be fairly regular.
There are guides and books on breathing meditation that may suggest different breathing techniques. However, to get started it is okay to breathe in and out slowly. This can be done through the nose and mouth, mouth only or nose only. Pay attention to your breathing technique. The even rhythm will begin to relax your body.
As long as you are focusing on your breathing, other thoughts stay at bay in your mind. This isn’t to say that you may not become distracted at times, but when you notice it, return to your rhythmic breathing. As you get better, you can breathe deeper - from the diaphragm, and use different breathing tempos. You don’t have to meditate for long. A fifteen minute session is a good starting point.