An Athlete's Guide to Meditation

How to Get Started

Just like training, when learning to meditate, it's best to start off slow. You wouldn't go out and run a marathon without having done at least a few months of training, right? 

Begin with five minutes a day and work your way up to 20 minutes. And because I know that athletes love training plans, I've written a beginner's meditation plan to help you get started. 

Here are a few tips before you begin.

1. Find something comfortable to sit on. This can be a pillow or a blanket. If sitting in a simple, crossed-legged position is not comfortable, sit on the edge of a chair. 
2. When you sit, try to sit up tall with your shoulders relaxed and your hands in your lap or on your knees. 
3. Start by closing your eyes and breathing in and out through your nose. Find a slow, natural rhythm with the breath. 

Your Beginner's Meditation Plan

Week One: 5 minutes a day/3 days a week

Your focus for week one is to complete the full five minutes without fidgeting or opening your eyes. This might be harder than you thought, so keep working on it each day.  

Week Two: 7 minutes a day/3 days a week

Your focus for week two is to direct your attention on something external. Some choices include the space between your eyebrows, your breathing or the feeling of the pads of your thumb and ring finger touching. If your attention is drawn away by random thoughts, relax and bring it back. 

Week Three: 10 minutes a day/4 days a week

Your focus this week is the same as the week before. We’ve added a day and a few minutes to your daily practice. Consistency is key. 

Week Four: 15 minutes a day/4 days a week

This week, we shift our focus to visualizing how we want to perform during our upcoming race or event. Picture yourself running or lifting in a calm and relaxed state. Imagine crossing the finish line happy and healthy.

Week Five: 20 minutes a day/4 days a week

Here is where it all comes together. Visualize, relax and breathe your way through this quiet 20 minutes. This is where you teach yourself to stay calm and focused. 

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