By Mikhael East
People often ask me about the importance of meditation and visualisation, often getting the two mixed up and often with a preconceived notion that it is not something “for them”.
Many think that visualisation requires the capacity to “see” films running in your head, like watching a movie (this is true for some but not for most), whilst meditation is something done only by Yogis or chilled out Byron Bay peeps!
But when you look at the definitions…it’s not so black and white.
1. the act or an instance of visualizing
2. a technique involving focusing on positive mental images in order to achieve a particular goal
1. the act of meditating
2. continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation.
Visualisation and meditation are two sides of the same coin, both with a different face. And like any technique, there are elements to learn to get the most out of them. The good news is that it is easy to learn, and just like your fitness routine, the main thing you will need in order to make it work is making time for it!
- Visualisation is using your imagination to focus in your head (usually with eyes closed) on a desirable result that you seek. For example, you might want to see yourself as you will appear in the future looking fabulous and emanating fitness and exuberance.
- Meditation is the act of concentrating on this image and engaging as many of the other senses as you can to make it feel real. For the snapshot of time that you are lying on your mat doing the meditation, your visualisation is real.
The trick is in making time to “spend” your coin. Practice makes perfect, and just like training a muscle, the repetition will improve your chances of success.
Can it help with my training and fitness goals?
Yes! Sports teams, institutes, and athletes alike swear by this technique as a means to not only help them achieve their goals, but also help with overall mental clarity and focus. Visualisation can also take the form of mentally rehearsing your training program or sport as a means of pre-planning or setting what you are about to manifest in the physical world.
The act of taking time out to slow down and focus – to centre and be with yourself – does wonders for your stress levels and sense of well being. Slowing down to focus and concentrate is not equivalent to being “soft” or taking a soft approach. Like many of the martial arts disciplines teach, it is the slowing down and the focus that brings great power to what it is you are trying to achieve. Besides, being on “full throttle” 100% will lead to burning out very quickly.
As with any discipline, visualisation and meditation requires time and patience to master. In the process, you will be giving yourself permission to relax! Once you get into it, you can really start to notice the results and benefits. Try the simple technique outlined below and see for yourself!
A simple technique…example of someone who has a goal body they want to achieve…
- Find a space to get comfortable in with no distractions.
- Count yourself down from 10 to 1 where you find yourself in a deep relaxed state.
- Find yourself in a room where a pedestal is placed, well lit in the centre. On this pedestal, see yourself standing there in your goal body, or future self body.
- Take time to notice every muscle, every curve; how strong you look; how lean you are, and how much energy you seem to be exuding; make sure you notice every detail from toe to crown.
- Now begin to feel that goal body. How does it feel to have this amount of optimal health?
- Step off the pedestal and walk around and notice how well you carry yourself.
- Notice the quality of your breath.
- Hear your footsteps as you walk.
- Does your new body have a scent attached to it? What is it like?
- Move your tongue about in your mouth and notice if you have a new taste?
- Take a few moments to continue experiencing your new form.
- Take a deep breath, and count down from 7 to 1. On the count of one you find yourself back in the room feeling awake, relaxed, and grounded.
Things you can do to enhance your meditation and visualisation experiences:
- Light – use mood lighting and/or light candles
- Smell – use a diffuser to “burn” essential oils. Some great ones are for meditation are frankincense and myrrh
- Feel – try meditating in the bath – Dead Sea salt can enhance the experience
- Isolation – make sure you will not be interrupted or disturbed
- Physical – try having an object on a table near you; a physical representation of your goal can help your focus
Mikhael is a Mr. Fitness Australia Champion, a GRAVITY Master Trainer, Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor. He has taught over 4500 and lives and breathes fitness. He loves bodybuilding, exploring new ways to get fit and stronger, and helping others to find their fullest fitness potential.
Fantastic article! I meditate and visualise everyday for about 20mins lying on a foam roller (so i don’t fall alseep) straight after doing energising zone exercises for about 20mins. Its my favorite 40mins of play for the day!! I’ll be sure to incorporate your tips into my sessions from now on!! thanks again.