This Is Why You Should Stop and Do a Five-Minute Meditation Right Now

This Is Why You Should Stop and Do a Five-Minute Meditation Right Now
Presented by Spartan Training®

There was a point in time when Kobe Bryant couldn’t sit still for any length of time, so forget spending 20 minutes meditating. But after meeting George Mumford, a mindfulness teacher from Massachusetts, that completely changed. Mumford helped the late basketball veteran find peace in stillness — a skill that bore out quantifiable results on the court. Bryan attributed some of the success of his famous 81-point game in 2006 to his meditation practice.

Related: How to Reverse Your Brain's Evolved Laziness and Unlock New Potential

And Bryant was not alone in this. Other major athletes, like Lebron James and Arthur Ashe, have spoken out about the ways in which mindfulness practices improved their game. During the height of his career, Michael Jordan famously took on meditation, leading the Bulls to six NBA championships.

The Benefits of a Five-Minute Meditation

The point is, meditation delivers benefits that extend beyond stress reduction and mental health. They also affect physical performance and your ability to improve strength. To control your body, it seems, you must first master your mind.

“The more anyone meditates, the more they learn about — and become more comfortable in — their body,” Lodro Rinzler, a meditation instructor and co-founder of MNDFL, said. “That is highly important for active people.”

Five-Minute Meditation: Start Small

But as with any new routine, starting is the hardest part. Many meditation newcomers find 20 or 30 minutes to be intimidating. Classes like MNDFL’s can help, as can those from big-city studios like The Den and Inscape, which typically cost $15-20. But obviously, these luxuries aren't widely available.

The solution? Start small. Five minutes of mindfulness is exactly what you need to start training for longer sessions.

Related: How to Clear Up Brain Fog (and Improve Your Training in the Process)

“You don’t run a marathon the first time you lace up your running shoes — you can start with a jog,” Khajak Keledjian, founder and CEO of Inscape, said. “That jog is still good for you. Think of shorter mediations as a way to ease into the practice.”

Five-Minute Meditation

Khajak is so convinced that short sessions are beneficial that he built five-minute meditation “breathers” into his app. And they’ve proven massively useful to those who use them.

“Just like our phones, sometimes we need to reboot,” Keledjian said. “After all, we are human beings, not human doings.”

Related: Stressed and Can’t Sleep? Eat These Foods.

And once you’re comfortable with five minutes, you can think about moving on to longer sessions — if it feels right. As you build your capacity for stillness, research indicates that you’ll be rewarded with health effects such as decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety and lower blood pressure (plus the aforementioned better athletic performance).

How to Practice a Five-Minute Meditation

If you're ready to commit to just five minutes, follow Rinzler's simple strategy for five minutes of meditation bliss.

What You Need to Meditate

A quiet and comfortable place to sit, like on a pillow.

Related: Breathe Like This for Improved Performance and Quicker Recovery

How to Properly Meditate 

Set a timer for five minutes. Sit cross-legged and take a relaxed but upright posture. Do a short mental body scan, and then focus on feeling the weight of your bottom pressing into the pillow or chair beneath you. Notice the gentle lift off your spine. Then, tune into the natural cycle of your breath. Feel your lungs fill and empty; no need to overthink this basic physical sensation. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath — without judgment.

The Meditation Practice Plan

Repeat three times weekly. Gradually increase your time spent meditating until you can sit in stillness for 10 to 20 minutes.

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