Take the First Step
The Transcendental Meditation technique
Optimising Peek Physical and Mental Performance- Giving the Athlete the Edge
“The physical aspect of the sport can only take you so far, the mental aspect has to kick in, especially when you’re talking about the best of the best. In the Olympic Games, everyone is talented. Everyone trains hard. Everyone does the work. What separates the gold medallists from the silver medallists is simply the mental game.” Shannon Miller- Olympic Gold Medal Winner.
Sporting success depends not only on peek physical performance but on our mental game, emotional stability and ability to manage stress, reduce anxiety and eliminate fatigue.
Transcendental Meditation is the world’s most widely practised, extensively researched and broadly prescribed technique for:
- Release of Stress and Anxiety
- Deep Rest for Faster Recovery- both physical and mental rejuvenation
- Development of body-mind co-ordination and integration
- Development of total brain functioning for mental concentration, focus and agility
- Broadened Awareness - for spontaneous right, effective action and decision making
- Self Confidence and Self Esteem
- Healthy and Harmonious interpersonal relations
Transcendental Meditation is a regular part of two-time world series champion and AL Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito. Once one of the most dominant left-handed pitchers in the game of baseball, Barry has publicly promoted the incredible tool that meditation has been for him in his life.
In May of 2013 Barry, director David Lynch and actor/ comedian Russell Brand partook in a group TM meditation at a San Francisco high school.
Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural, mental technique practised for 20 minutes morning and evening while sitting comfortably in a chair with the eyes closed.
Unique Neurological Changes during the practise:
- Increased EEG (Brain Wave) Coherence
- Increased Integrated Brain Functioning
- Increased blood flow to the brain
- Activation of the prefrontal cortex
- Mobilization of Latent Brain Reserves
The prefrontal Cortex – known as the CEO of the brain, responsible for executive functions; decision making, planning, moral reasoning, memory, concentration, focus and strategic thinking, shuts down under stress. Transcendental Meditation switches the Prefrontal Cortex back on.
During the practise mental and physical activity naturally settle down to a unique state of restful alertness; the brain functions with significantly greater coherence and becomes holistically enlivened and integrated whilst the body is in a state of profound rest.
Unique Physiological Changes during the practise:
- Basal Skin conductance, respiration rate and heart rate significantly decrease
- Muscles spontaneously relax
- Biochemical changes- plasma lactate, cortisol and adrenalin significantly decrease
- Blood pressure normalises
- Increased Stability of the Autonomic Nervous System
As the mind settles down to an integrated state of functioning the body gains a profound level of deep rest. Research has shown the levels of rest experienced are 2-3 times deeper than sleep. This profound level of rest naturally dissolves accumulated stress and fatigue. The physiology is balanced, rejuvenated, reset and conditioned to function more optimally.
Extensive Scientific Research shows significant improvements in physical performance, mental performance and increased integration of personality- self actualisation, which results in the enhancement of relationships, teambuilding and sportsmanship for the Athlete:
Effects of Transcendental Meditation on the Sports Field and in Daily Life:
- Increased Energy and Vitality
- Decreased Fatigue
- Faster Recovery from Stress
- Decreased Insomnia
- Reduction of High Blood Pressure
- Lower baseline levels of Heart Rate, Respiration Rate, Plasma Lactate
- Increased EEG (Brain Wave) Coherence
- Increased Efficiency of Information Transfer in the Brain
- Improved Problem Solving Ability
- Increased Intelligence and Creativity
- Improved Memory
- Increased Field Independence- Broader comprehension with Improved Ability to Focus Attention
Growth of Positive Qualities:
- Higher Levels of Self Development
- Enhanced Job Performance and Job Satisfaction
- Increased Emotional Stability
- Increased Tolerance
- Increased Self Confidence and more Positive Self Image
- Improved Work and Personal Relationships
Reduction of Negative Qualities:
- Decreased Anxiety and Tension
- Decreased Depression
- Decreased Hostility and Impulsiveness
Baseball All-Star Barry Zito Reflects on Pitching, Transcendental Meditation, and Life in this audio interview with David Lynch Foundation’s Bobby Wrath on his Sirius XM radio show, “Success without Stress”:
“When I’m pitching and I’m at my best, it’s like I’m all alone out there on the mound,” recalls Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher and World Series champion Barry Zito.
“I feel like I’m in a bubble of serenity, going through my deliveries one at a time. All around me is craziness, even 60-feet away there’s something I could be fearful about—but I’m staying in that bubble of solitude and calm, which comes from my practice of Transcendental Meditation,” says Barry.
“TM has enabled me to stay in my bubble, and say ‘This is who I am, this is what I’m doing.” – Barry Zito
Growing up in a self-described “artistic, musical, and spiritual family,” Barry says he always knew the value of meditation. He chose to learn TM because of its simplicity. “With TM, there’s no pressure or regimen. You just sit there, think your mantra as you were taught by your TM teacher, and just relax, chill out. There is no wrong way to practice TM, and for me that’s the allure.”
Since beginning TM in 2011, Barry says his practice has aided him in several foundational ways.
“TM helps at a core level. It’s like taking your vitamins so you don’t get sick instead of getting sick and then having to take some medicine to make the sickness go away. TM erases the stress before it can take hold. It gives me the perspective to not take angry comments by strangers personally,” Barry explains.
Barry’s baseball honours include being named recipient of the Cy Young Award in 2002 as the best pitcher in the American League, the Hutch Award in 2012 for his “fighting spirit to overcome adversity,” and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 2012 for his “high level of character and integrity.”
Along with his award-winning pitching career, Barry is an accomplished songwriter and guitarist and the founder of his own charity, “Strikeouts for Troops,” which provides funds to Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Barry took a sabbatical from baseball during the 2014 season to be with his wife and new-born son. But he’s working out daily in preparation for a return to Major League Baseball in 2015.
“My performance is driven by joy and fun. I tell myself, ‘This is going to be fun today.’ Rather than my play being based on fear, it’s based on love. Whenever it’s an experience based on love, it goes okay, win or loss. Being in the zone is about taking one pitch at a time and enjoying the act of pitching itself—not the destination of what it might bring. Pitching is the destination; writing the song is the destination; being creative is the destination,” Barry says.
(Photo courtesy of Aficionado Guitar)