To finish off our series of blog posts on dealing with coaching stress, we’re going to go back to a subject we touched on earlier – Meditation! It’s the primary form of relaxation that rowing coach John Faulkner of Rent a Rowing Coach uses, and he filled us in on its applications.
John explained that “It has been some time since I’ve had any stress at all in coaching or daily life. My way of coping with this started back in 1981 where my crew and I was introduced to meditation. I use it in all circumstances, exams, completions, aches and pains and just for pure relaxation. I try to introduce it to others as it is a fantastic tool!”
John particularly enjoys a state of meditation known as “Yoga Nidra” (meaning ‘conscious sleep’). John mentioned that it “works very well against Insomnia”, but that “there are many different types of meditation”. You just need to find the right kind of meditation that suits you!
Different Types Of Meditation
Mindful – this is all about letting your senses detect all of your surroundings. both externally and internally. Let sounds and thoughts flow through you rather than closing them off, but don’t fixate on any one thing. This helps you assess the situations of your life from an outside perspective, so you can more readily identify and accept them.
Spiritual – Find a calm, quiet place. Now get into a position and mood that leaves you feeling empty. Then focus on a singular question or issue, looking at it from the outside as if it is someone else’s problem. Using spiritual meditation is based on communing with a higher power, but for a particularly stressful situation it is a great tool to help you step back and assess what’s really going on and how to solve it. The experience is said to often leave you feeling rewarded.
Focused – Much like spiritual meditation, focused meditation sees you honing in on one particular thing. But as spiritual meditation was about questions, thoughts and problems, focused meditation has you focusing on anything in particular, be it a sound or movement or yes, a thought. It exists for those that feel uneasy clearing their mind entirely. The idea is that in general we focus on 10 or more things at any given moment in the day, but with focused meditation we’re loosening the stress we put on ourselves by lessening our load.
Movement – one of the more difficult types of meditation, movement meditation is about freeing your body and doing what feels comfortable to get relaxed and in harmony with yourself. Sit while closing your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. When you feel steady, begin doing a set of random and repetitive flowing movements. Turn your attention to these movements alone
Mantra – chanting words aloud during meditation are known as mantras. The word Om (or Ohm in pronunciation) is the most common mantra known and is highly effective because chanting it produces vibrations making it easy to focus on.
So next time you’re worried about something in your rowing coach career, find a quiet space to sit down and see which type of meditation works for you. Who knows, you might find some enlightenment that’ll help progress the rowing world as we know it!
John Faulkner has coached for Danish lightweight rowing & Mens Squad, as well as having been the head coach for ‘KNRB’ the Dutch Lightweight Squad from 2009 to 2012. He’s now the high performance coach at Rent a Rowing Coach.
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