Ishan Shivanand is a humanitarian and a pioneer in both the science and the art of meditative practices.He is the Founder of Yoga of Immortals (YOI), which is a uniquely structured form of yoga practice that uses ancient meditation skills and Himalayan yoga to help transform lives. For many years, he has dedicated time to self-transformation through ancient yogic practices and mindfulness. Ishan Shivanand has discovered that even the simplest of activities, like walking along a scenic path, can bring about heightened self-awareness and renewed spiritual energy.
But what about the physical body? Can professional athletes who have spent years conditioning their bodies to perform at their peak, over and over again, benefit from meditative practices? And, if so, can we average mortals reap elevated levels of stamina, endurance, and coordination, along with a more in-depth awareness of the world around us, by practicing meditation?
From his personal experience and being witness to those who have reaped benefits from his therapeutic yoga sessions, along with scientific evidence, Ishan Shivanand says the answer to these questions is an emphatic yes!
Some of our greatest athletes of all time, like Lebron James and Novak Djokovic, along with entire sports teams like the Seattle Seahawks, admit to using meditation either before a performance or regularly. Meditation can be a remarkable tool for athletes who want to perform at higher levels.
Athletes and weekend sports warriors often think over and over again about how they may perform in an upcoming event. This type of rumination can cause increased levels of anxiety and insomnia. Meditation has been proven to reduce physical, emotional, and mental nuisances.
Ishan Shivanand also believes in the restorative powers of meditative practices. Exercise recovery is the process of the body removing metabolic waste products (lactic acid, ammonia, and uric acid) and reducing the inflammation caused by intense exercise. Meditation supports these bodily processes by altering the athlete’s mental perceptions from one of pain and distress to one of healing and vitality.
And finally, many athletes believe that meditation or other spiritual/mindful activities can unlock parts of their game skills that are more difficult to perform. Imagine the amount of intense focus an elite athlete like Simone Biles must possess to achieve the most difficult and original gymnastic stunts ever witnessed. This is the potential for all athletes who might gain increased clarity, sharpness and focus before a performance.
Ishan Shivanand is quick to add that there are many more benefits of meditation for high-performing athletes. Pain is a part of all professional sports. The ability to quiet the mind to a point where the brain is not focused on a sports injury can improve an athlete’s pain tolerance.
To perform at a higher level, an athlete is required to maximize their intake of oxygen and increase the efficient exhaling of carbon dioxide. Deep breathing techniques and the control of breathing rhythm are a part of meditative practices that will benefit the professional athlete and your personal exercise goals.
The old Buddhist mantra ‘we are what we think’ holds true for athletes who meditate regularly. A focused and quiet mind can produce a sharp and powerful physical performance.