foundations of mindfulness
At the first appointment there is a lot of different content to consider. It serves to orientate the participants, to clarify questions about the procedure and to familiarize the participants with each other. Thematically, the basics of mindfulness are in the foreground, and the first basic exercises are introduced with body scan and breathing space.
perceive the moment
In the second session, the participants are familiarized with the practice of mindful perception. Through meditation on vision and the nine-point exercise, you will learn the meaning of perception and evaluation habits and what role this control of attention in perception can have for sporting success. This can be illustrated by the simple question of what the individual athlete is focusing on in their everyday training and which physically and psychologically effects these result in. In addition, the basis is laid here so that the conscious and targeted perception of internal processes such as thoughts and emotions become more understandable, like for example in order to be able to get out of negative thought cycles.
The third session focuses on the mindfulness towards the body, which is most important for mindful athletes. Motion and conscious examination with the own physicality is the basis of many professional athletes. Here we’re going to prepare the mindful behavior with the own body. This means a friendly, non-judgemental access to oneself, to anchor the attention in the body and to perceive the body sensations. This is especially important for professionals. An athlete whose capital is based on a perfectly functioning body, gains more awareness about the own limits and the times where he has to take his own physique into account.
Mindful body exercises are learned in this section to teach these aspects. The Sitting meditation with the attention on your breath, the diary about pleasant events and the walking meditation as a new way of practicing mindfulness is introduced.
handling difficult emotions and thoughts
The fourth session is about the role of thoughts, emotions and stress in an athletes’ life. This connection seems to be surprising but if you look closer, you’ll see that especially in the context of sport it’s super important. Moreover, the issue of stress is also a possibility for the participants to use this mindfulness program for a general health maintenance as a stress prevention. Therefore, this session presents and explains a simplified stress model about how stress and mental activity are connected.
values and emotions
Next to mindfulness-based topics like the dealing with thoughts, emotions and body sensations, this session focuses on the topic of values. According to Gardner und Moore (2007) we represent the thesis, that successful long-term professional sports training should always conform to the athlete’s inherent value system. This means on one hand, that athletes have to be aware of this system and on the other hand the training and competition environment has to lean on this value system, too. Value oriented training is an ideal initial position for a lasting and crises resistant motivation basis. To clarify this value system an individual analysis would be the best way. But you can also use the way that’s presented in this mindfulness program, at least for non-professional competitive sports. Therefore you will train dyadic conversations and determine self-examination assignments for the own central values.
acceptance and openness
In this session we focus on openness and acceptance. The athletes will learn to apply these attitudes also in avoidance situations to enable new options for action. Avoidance strategies are everyday appearances that usually are more connected with the past than with the actual situation. Through the mindfulness training in these situations, athletes learn that various behaviors are possible and usually the more useful strategy against avoiding in the long run. To make this possible you need the openness to fearlessly confront everything that is present. In the end of this session is the open presence, that can also be trained through focusing the attention to your breathing.
Coherence and team-spirit review and lookout
In this session coherence, communication and team-spirit are the main topics. With an inner attitude of mindfulness, you can realize the own communication habits and replace them through various behaviors. Experiencing coherence and resonance in a team can enhance the performance of a team. Therefore, a vital component is loving kindness. If we face the moment in a mindful way, kindness decides about the quality of the contribution. Positive vibes are not only important for the whole team, but also for the individual athletes.
In the end we’ll summarize the experiences mindfulness exercises, we’ll reflect the past and the future and we’ll learn how we can profit from the benefits of mindfulness in everyday life. Now it’s only a question of continuing the experience of seven weeks of intensive training with mindfulness.