How many times have you heard a coach say to their players “you are not focused” or “concentrate!” or see the star of your soccer team miss an important penalty shot they never miss in practice (that was me and Roberto Baggio in the 94 World Cup). Well how can you tell your athlete to focus without teaching them how. Eliminating distractions of the mind is a skill that requires practice and training just like anything else.
Meditation can be seen as practicing to focus or concentrate, just like you would practice penalty shots in soccer or free throws in basketball. Usually meditation begins with bringing awareness to our breadth. Breathing is something we constantly do, so targeting our minds to the inhale and exhale is great practice for enhancing our levels of focus. When I introduce this concept to high schoolers I keep it very brief with some short non threatening exercises to get the ball rolling. I believe in living what I teach so at home I had been playing around with meditation which is what got me started. Now I try to carve 10-30 minutes each day for this awesome practice. If I knew then what I know now…I may not have missed that penalty shot hahaha.
Meditation for me is a rather new endeavor I have recently been implementing into my life more and more. I always thought of meditation as some sort of weird cult thing, a foreign practice like playing the bag pipes, or something else far from my reality. When I was in high school meditation was something I thought only monks did. However, the more I teach health and physical education, the more I study it, and the more I apply it into my own life. Now I only wish I had learned about it sooner.
The benefits of meditation are well documented which you can find on many other reputable sights. I think meditation starts out as a practice of patience and concentration but then can evolve to as much or a little as you want it to. It is a practice I am having fun applying to my life. Give it a shot.