VegetarianBodybuilding.com isn’t just about eating plants and looking good.
We also adopt practices like meditation, which can foster complete health and amplify our focus in the gym while executing an intense set.
But did you know we can use meditation for strength itself?
This article offers some ideas on how meditation can build a stronger mind and body, which can be another powerful tool to add to your toolbox of healthier bodybuilding and fitness.
Meditation practiced over time can help you build a better brain.
Ever heard the mild insult, “Go grow a brain”?
Well, apparently we can go grow a brain, or more accurately, we can grow more brain.
In other words, meditation can tune up, sharpen, and modify the actual structure of our brains. This is called neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to structurally and functionally change on the basis of environmental input. Not only that, meditation can help the brain age slower.
Below is a video that discusses how you can grow new brain cells:
A practical benefit of this specific physical change in the brain (or rather, areas of the brain that are affected) is that it tends to produce the ability to be less reactive and more objective and calmly assertive. This proves to be incredibly useful for us in daily life.
“It did to my mind what going to the gym did to my body — it made it both stronger and more flexible,” said Dr. Hedy Kober, a neuroscientist who who studies the effects of mindfulness meditation, which she has practiced for 10 years, at her lab at Yale University.
In a TED Talk (not the same person or video mentioned above), Kober explains that she started meditating to deal with a breakup. Later, it became apparent that meditation also helped her handle stress and unpleasant feelings in all areas of her life.
Meditation practiced over time can help you build a better body.
This may sound wild because we mostly hear about how meditation helps with stress and the mind, but let me explain.
There’s also research to suggest that meditation can reduce blood pressure and stress hormone levels (which affects body fat composition). There’s also an amplification in cellular health, immune system, and … physical strength.
I’m just getting started.
How would you like to live longer?
Research done by the University of California, Davis’s Shamatha Project has shown that meditators have significantly higher telomerase activity than non-meditators. Telomerase is the enzyme that helps build telomeres, and greater telomerase activity can possibly translate into stronger and longer telomeres.
Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes. Longer telomeres mean that you’re likely to live longer.
How would you like to have pain relief that beats morphine?
Earlier this year, a study conducted by Wake Forest Baptist University found that meditation could reduce pain intensity by 40 percent and pain unpleasantness by 57 percent. Morphine and other pain-relieving drugs typically show a pain reduction of 25 percent.
10-Minute Meditation for Strength
To be more accurate, this is a healing-acceleration meditation.
I make the case why bodybuilders should meditate in this article, and I quote:
“This recent study also showed that meditation correlated with faster physical recovery after stressful situations. Bodybuilders and athletes performing in any sport can benefit from quicker recovery times after moderate to extreme exertion.”
If you can heal faster and more completely, you will get stronger at a more rapid rate.
5 easy steps to a meditation that fosters faster recovery after an intense workout:
Step 1: Breathe deeply and slowly at first, sensing the presence of the bioenergy “life force” within you. (1 minute)
Step 2: Simply notice and feel this energy flowing through your body. (1 minute)
Step 3: Imagine activating this energy so it begins to cleanse the body. (1 minute)
Step 4: Visualize this energy within your body radiating more and more. (2 minutes)
Step 5: Now direct the radiating energy to the area that needs healing, the areas of the body you trained today during your workout. (5 minutes)
If you’re a beginner or would like a refresher on how to meditate, check out the meditation video below where I walk you through the fundamentals.