Mindfulness and exercise/sports

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Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby zavk » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:15 am

Hi friends,

Just wondering if anyone has found mindfulness helpful in exercise or sports?

I find that my performance at the gym (on the treadmill or whatever) often depends on how well I'm able to observe and let thoughts like, 'GAWD, this is too painful! I shall stop in 5 minutes, I can't go on anymore!' arise and pass away. Some days I get caught up in these thoughts and when that happens, I don't usually have a good workout.
With metta,
zavk
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby Ben » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:31 am

Hi Ed

Please don't laugh at what i am about to tell you...Its so 'buddhist geek'...
For a while there I used to play my teacher chanting suttas via my earpieces while on the treadmill/stationery bike/rowing machine.
That didn't last long but i maintained awareness of sensation without reacting during workouts. Its always very useful.
Go on, you might as well laugh - everyone else does!
I haven't been back to the gym for a while so I just count laps when I'm in the pool. There's some awareness of sensation but there's not the same focus and continuity of awareness as sitting meditation.
Kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:44 am

Greetings,

Thinking along the lines of what Ben just wrote, when I used to play cricket, I would usually bat best when I had a tune in my head. I'm not sure precisely why... maybe it just helped to momentarily stop the papanca, which can otherwise cause you to overthink the situation.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby cooran » Mon Sep 07, 2009 3:39 am

Hello all,

Ben - good story. Now my confession. I've just returned from a walk I do four or five times a week. It's about 6 kms. and it wends along the side of a creek. In order to stop my mind going over and over uselss papanca, I repeat "May all beings be happy and at ease". It fits in with the stepping and the breathing and my concentration goes to whatever being I see or hear. Lots of ants, lots of different birds, people - walking and cycling, dogs, four turtles sunning on the creek bank, mum and dad duck and little ducklings, and best of all thousands of fruit bats hanging in about six large gum trees in their wing-created 'sleeping bags' and still managing to grumble and nag at each other in daylight hours.

metta
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby Ben » Mon Sep 07, 2009 3:46 am

Thanks Chris and all
Its good to be in the company of fellow nerds!
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby zavk » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:27 am

My turn to make a somewhat embarrassing confession. I sometimes listen to cheesy 80s heavy metal music when I'm on the treadmill. I'm not a fan of heavy metal music as such but I did like some metal bands in my early teens. I find that the energetic rhythm of heavy metal keeps me focussed on the running. Yet, sometimes I find it distracting. So I run without listening to the iPod and try to be mindful of my bodily movements/sensations instead. I can't say that the lyrics of those heavy metal songs are anything like the words of the dhamma!
With metta,
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:45 am

I invested in a chair master!

I sitdown, I stand up, I sit down, I stand up.

and a coffe'o'matic
I lift the cup, I put it down, I lift the cup, I put it down!

If you know Denis leary you get the joke!!!

but I use to mainly walk everywhere, and I would just focus on the walking!

I believe some sports institutes have done studdies into this, maybe there is an article on one of their sites
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby mindfullmom » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:05 am

When I was younger (much younger) I was a competetive gymnast. Spent 6 days a week, 4-6 hours a day at the gym.
Focus, sustained concentration, energy, will, and effort all played a large role in any success you could have in that sport.

First you would need to "block out" or "turn off" any external stimulus ie the crowd or music or coaches, and you would need to turn inside.
Then you must focus your attention on your body and what you are about to do with it selectively "turning off" pain if possible.
Next, your energy, will and effort would be put into every move you made, each part of your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head must be connected with your mind all working seemlessly together so that you could achieve the desired single result: a perfect routine.

You could not become discouraged or doubtful of your potential because that could lead to fear and from fear comes injury.
Every time you fall you get back up. You would need to practice, practice, practice.

Now, with mediation practice, I see many similarities to all the techniques that I learned in that sport and it has been helpful!
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Sep 07, 2009 3:07 pm

My two "sports" are chess and stairclimbing. I use quotes over sports because some don't see them as much of a sport. :tongue:

In chess, mindfulness is obviously very important.
"A weaker player with better concentration will out-perform a more intelligent player with less concentration" -- Mencius (Confucian scholar).

In stairclimbing, the stairwells are usually dark and boring and there is plenty of opportunity for mindfulness just to avoid the monotony of climbing with no views, not much to please the senses, no temptations, etc. But one of the best parts about stairclimbing is that you get done fast. A 10 minute workout with stairs is equivalent to about a 20 minute run (because of moving your body weight vertically, against gravity, instead of horizontally).
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:05 am

Ben wrote:Hi Ed

Please don't laugh at what i am about to tell you...Its so 'buddhist geek'...
For a while there I used to play my teacher chanting suttas via my earpieces while on the treadmill/stationery bike/rowing machine.
That didn't last long but i maintained awareness of sensation without reacting during workouts. Its always very useful.
Go on, you might as well laugh - everyone else does!
I haven't been back to the gym for a while so I just count laps when I'm in the pool. There's some awareness of sensation but there's not the same focus and continuity of awareness as sitting meditation.
Kind regards

Ben



:jumping: :rofl:

(in the nicest possible way - i'm probably geekier than you :namaste: )
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:08 am

I do a fair amount of running and find that my mind wanders far less when running than when doing other activities. I get into a rhythm and often end up in a slight trance-like state. I dunno whether that's particularly useful for anything, but I always feel great after running, decreases my levels of anxiety and low mood, and keeps me physically fit.

:woohoo: (that's me, running)
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby Ben » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:54 am

Well done Kate!
I'm still swimming laps in the pool but not as often as I like. I find if I don't have to share a lane with anyone (which is rare), my mindfulness increases as I just use the black line at the bottom of the pool to anchor my mind and my stroke.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby Sekha » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:15 am

I may play the role of the sport spoiler this time.
Anyway I finally droped my practice of sports to gain time for practicing more meditation.

I thought to myself: 'I am very lucky to have come to this teaching and to such an undertanding of it. This life is short. It may not last long enough for me to become a sotapanna and gain the ultimate assurance of being liberated. Every second of this life is extremely valuable and should be used at its highest potential.
Sport is good for the body, but this body will ultimately remain in this world. I should rather cultivate my mind and drive further the destruction of cravings.'

So finally I practice 10 asanas every day, always the same very basic ones, and this is enough to feel comfortable in the body. For the rest, I practice more meditation now : )

hoping it might help
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:49 am

Dukkhanirodha wrote:So finally I practice 10 asanas every day, always the same very basic ones, and this is enough to feel comfortable in the body. For the rest, I practice more meditation now : )


Don't forget walking meditation. That is an exercise too, as well as a meditation.

But the asanas are very good too.
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby bodom » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:59 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Dukkhanirodha wrote:So finally I practice 10 asanas every day, always the same very basic ones, and this is enough to feel comfortable in the body. For the rest, I practice more meditation now : )


Don't forget walking meditation. That is an exercise too, as well as a meditation.


Five Benefits of Walking Meditation

1. One is able to bear long journeys (on foot).
2. One can endure making an effort.
3. One will be more resistant to illness or disease (having good health).
4. Food can be easily digested.
5. The concentration developed while walking lasts a long time.

- Numerical (Anguttara) Collection, Book of Five
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby Sekha » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:45 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Dukkhanirodha wrote:So finally I practice 10 asanas every day, always the same very basic ones, and this is enough to feel comfortable in the body. For the rest, I practice more meditation now : )


Don't forget walking meditation. That is an exercise too, as well as a meditation.


well whenever I walk I try to maintain mindfulness and sampajañña

I see danger and this 'walking meditation' because some people (even monks) don't practice anything beyond that. Sitting meditation, for the average practitioner is fundamental.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:53 pm

Ben wrote:Well done Kate!
I'm still swimming laps in the pool but not as often as I like. I find if I don't have to share a lane with anyone (which is rare), my mindfulness increases as I just use the black line at the bottom of the pool to anchor my mind and my stroke.
kind regards

Ben



Lately I've been trying to put into practice my cultivation of compassion for the people in the pool who employ a somewhat irritating swimming style, i.e. butterfly stroke up and down the middle of the lanes, splashing and hitting everyone in their way!!

:broke: (this looks a bit like someone doing butterfly stroke)
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby meindzai » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:21 pm

bodom wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
Dukkhanirodha wrote:So finally I practice 10 asanas every day, always the same very basic ones, and this is enough to feel comfortable in the body. For the rest, I practice more meditation now : )


Don't forget walking meditation. That is an exercise too, as well as a meditation.


Five Benefits of Walking Meditation

1. One is able to bear long journeys (on foot).
2. One can endure making an effort.
3. One will be more resistant to illness or disease (having good health).
4. Food can be easily digested.
5. The concentration developed while walking lasts a long time.

- Numerical (Anguttara) Collection, Book of Five


Very cool quote. Gil Fronsdal once remarked that if the Buddha knew about the kinds of lives we'd be leading today he would have added "Right Exercise" to the eight(nine)fold path.

As for my answer to the question, I run. Two books that really made me think about running in a different way were "Chi Running" (which is a style of running modeled after Tai Chi) And more recently "Born to Run." A book about a tribe of indigenous people in Mexico (The Tarahumara) who run hundred or more mile races with minimal or no footwear. The problem with the way people run today is that our shoes block off all the sensory input to our feet, and we have learned to run in a mindless and distracted way. (Always with headphones of course, with distracting music to block out the pain of running, which is actually caused by the expensive shoes).

So I am switching to running barefoot (on the treadmill) and when spring comes around (or I move to Florida!) I will be out in my Haurache sandals - just a little bit of material between me and the ground - and no headphones.

-M
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby meindzai » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:28 pm

kayy wrote:
Lately I've been trying to put into practice my cultivation of compassion for the people in the pool who employ a somewhat irritating swimming style, i.e. butterfly stroke up and down the middle of the lanes, splashing and hitting everyone in their way!!




"It was like a flabby armed spanking machine!!" - Kramer (from Seinfeld) Recalling a similar adventure with geriatrics at the local pool gym

Sorry, first thing I thought of when I saw your post.

-M
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Re: Mindfulness and exercise/sports

Postby seanpdx » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:36 pm

I'm a rock climber. Mindfulness is a good quality to have, for some very obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. It's referred to by some as a form of "physical chess".
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