Relaxing can make you better on a bike? Hard to believe for many but there’s more to meditation and mindfulness than may at first be apparent and optimising yourself mentally is as important as optimising yourself physically when aspiring to elite level performance.
Both meditation and mindfulness are rooted in ancient Buddhism. The terms are often used interchangeably and the actual differences between the two are argued at length across the internet and beyond. Without getting into the finer points, in essence meditation refers to the pursuit of ultimate consciousness and concentration and utilises a number of techniques to try to attain this. Mindfulness is one of these techniques. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on being in the present eg if you are drinking a cup of coffee you would focus on the smell of it, the temperature, the colour of the coffee and crema, the taste, the feel of the cup etc and by doing this remove other overpowering emotions of the mind.
‘The Zone’ is often referred to within elite level human performance (be it in sport or business etc). It is considered to be a point of optimal arousal (with arousal referring to alertness and awakeness of the mind rather than something sexual) where an individual achieves total focus on the task at hand and any extraneous information/variables are disregarded. Understanding and practising the principles of meditation/mindfulness will provide you with the foundations to access this most sought after of places.
I could talk more on the subject but there are others far better placed to be doing this. One such author is Andy Puddicombe who is the man behind Headspace. The Headspace online platform is an excellent resource and a relatively recent addition to their resources has been a sport app. They provide a 10 day, no obligation free trial and, while I haven’t tried it directly, having read the book and heard the feedback of numerous others who have tried the online resources, this is an excellent place to start if you’re wanting to start enhancing your mental performance.
If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.