In recent decades, researchers have been studying the effectiveness of the ancient tradition of meditation. As Buddhists have long known, they have found that meditation is useful for understanding and connecting with themselves and the world around them. This activity has become popular in sports and fitness as mindfulness is a crucial component, so is it also suitable for MMA training?
Meditation is good for MMA training. Meditation is a valuable tool for achieving the state of flow and can be very advantageous in sport. When athletes practice meditation regularly, they can enter into that coveted zone spontaneously whenever necessary.
While meditation doesn’t have to be a standalone activity for training or living a healthy life, there is no denying that it is one of the best ways to benefit MMA individuals. With that being said, we will discuss some of the most important ways that meditation can help those in MMA training and the best types of meditation that are available for them.
Benefits of Meditation
Usually, when we imagine meditation, we assume there is a calming effect. While this is true, meditation also offers specific benefits, especially when it comes to athletes. Below, we will discuss some of the most significant benefits that athletes can gain from meditation.
Concentration occurs when you fixate on a particular point, such as a word or breath. The goal is to focus all of your attention on that one point. You want to maintain the focus and prevent your mind from wandering.
Concentration is just one of the many benefits that derive from meditation. Not to mention, it is a priority in MMA training. When mediation allows us to construct our inner being, it gives us the ability to sustain attention in fighting techniques. It allows us to maintain a focus on the priority at hand—which is MMA.
The ability to concentrate well in MMA is important for athletes to make better decisions, such as responding to an opponent or adapting to changes within the environment. It enables faster understanding, which leads to faster response times. Concentration also enables you to ignore distractions around or in you.
Determining the progression of performance is dependent on a mixture of factors such as biomechanical functions, training techniques, and emotional responses. Meditation has been found to increase performance levels’ excellence by reducing stress levels, building self-confidence, and increasing endurance.
Being an athlete means trying to overcome the anxiety and fear before an event, but meditation magnifies success on the floor. Through breathing exercises, athletes can increase endurance levels for sustaining themselves through long and difficult training.
Furthermore, rehearsing meditation will help quiet the stress on the mind. Research has found that meditation has decreased levels of the cortisol hormone, which is related to stress. The reduction of stress will help athletes stay in control and have better performance levels.
Not only can stress affect performance levels in individuals, but it is also linked to suppressing an individual’s immune systems. However, evidence has shown that meditation can profoundly affect the immune system through protection and recovery. It can even reduce pain in injuries.
One study found that after an eight-week meditation program, individuals had increased left-prefrontal cortex activation and increased antibody production. The latter was found after subjects received an administration of a flu vaccine.
Another study found that participants in a three-month meditation program demonstrated an increase in immune cell telomerase. Telomerase is an enzyme that is responsible for preventing immune cell death. This cell is also associated with decreased cholesterol and epinephrine (adrenaline) levels.
Other studies have found that meditation can reduce pain in injuries and decrease heart disease risks. If there is one thing that meditation has been found to do, it’s to positively impact the immune system, making it extremely beneficial for athletes. Who knows, we might find even more benefits with further research.
A key to being a better athlete is to be as healthy on the inside as you are on the outside. A healthy mind makes for a healthy life!
Meditation has been found to help athletes positively impact their psychological well-being. Some research has shown that meditation can help people cope with anxiety, depression, and, of course, stress. It can also be useful for people that struggle with motivation and control. For example, meditation has been used as a therapy technique for helping individuals control overeating or drug addictions.
This same type of control can help athletes to reduce stress and cope with their mental health. Of course, meditation should not be the only treatment for individuals who are suffering from mental illness.
Best Types of Meditation for MMA Training
After learning some impactful benefits associated with meditation, you might be wondering how to get into it and which forms would be the best for MMA training. Let’s look at a few forms of meditation to help you get started.
Not all meditation includes staying still. Many forms of mediation include a form of movement. There are many different types of moving meditation as well.
One form of moving meditation is walking meditation (or Kinhin). This form of meditation will require good posture, deep breaths, and the willingness to experience the body’s movement. It would help if you walked slowly and continuously while staying aware of your body and mind.
Another form of moving meditation is Tai Chi. This is an ancient practice that was used in Chinese medicine. The purpose of this form of mediation is to align the energy in your body and mind.
Research has found that this meditation is correlated with an increase in memory and alleviating painful symptoms, such as fibromyalgia. Some describe Tai Chi as a slow-dancing motion. To practice this, you can find videos on YouTube, take online classes, or check out local classes convenient for you.
There are certainly many different forms of moving meditation that is available for you to learn. All of them, including yoga for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, incorporate a significant amount of benefits into your life.
Mindfulness is the most popular meditation in the western regions. It originated from Buddhist teachings and continues to be a favorite technique.
To start, you will want to move to a quiet environment where you can sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Then, you will close your eyes and take the time to focus on the present. The goal is to become aware of your body and breathing.
There will be times when you notice a thought or emotion during your meditation. Take a moment to observe it and then slowly return to focusing just on your breathing and body.
This type of meditation is all about focusing on your breath. It’s perfect for beginners and can be completed anywhere. So, how do you do it?
To start, you will want to find a relaxing environment. Then, take the time to inhale slowly while counting to four. Don’t exhale right away! Instead, hold your breath for another count of four, and finally, you will want to exhale slowly while counting to four. If you want to make this meditation one-minute, you can complete four rounds of the breath awareness exercise.
You will find that the more you practice, the easier this meditation will get. If you want to make this a longer, daily routine, then you can start increasing your time a little each week.
We see a lot of breath awareness in the sport of BJJ, most beginners will pick up a new Gi but not realize that there’s so much to learn about breathing before training. This comes with years of practice and will help you stay calm and composed in tough positions.
Meditation complements the training for mixed martial arts. With benefits such as increasing focus and awareness or improving performance techniques, it is certainly a movement that athletes should consider.
There are many forms of meditation to consider for you to find the right one in your MMA training. This could be between sparring sessions or at the end of the day of hard training. This article is just a start in directing you towards different meditation forms and providing information on some of the most important benefits of MMA training.
- Berkeley.edu: Five Ways Mindfulness Meditation is Good For Your Health
- Fight Camp Conditioning: Benefits of Meditation for Fighters | Peak Performance Unlocked
- Medium: The Connection Between Meditation and Martial Arts
- Medical News Today: Seven Types of Meditation: What is the Best Type of Meditation?
- Harvard.edu: Why Mindfulness Can Help the Immune System