In this long-awaited book, spiritual teacher and athlete Sri Chinmoy reveals the inner dimension of sport – a dimension that everyone can use to enhance his or her physical and mental training. It is this new facet that enables us to achieve peak performance, to get more from exercise and to enjoy robust and lasting health and well-being.
World champions such as Carl Lewis, Tatyana Lebedeva, Tegla Loroupe, Bill Pearl and Paul Tergat share their own inner secrets and spiritual perspectives on training and competition in anecdotes peppered throughout the book.
Sport & Meditation is a unique book which challenges our preconceptions of our physical capacities and of the limitations of age. Sri Chinmoy, is the world’s foremost authority on the connection between meditation and physical fitness, showing us how anybody can bring the power of meditation and mindfulness into their exercise and training in a very practical way.
This is a broad ranging book, which synthesises the philosophical and the practical. It includes specific exercises concerning guided meditation, concentration and mantra as aids to the focus needed in all forms of exercise and training. With detailed instructions, the author shows how meditation and spirituality can help us tap into our inner capacities and transcend our current notions of performance.
Sri Chinmoy was a trailblazer in extreme weightlifting and challenged our very concept of impossibility. He was also a marathon, and ultramarathon, runner and exercised voraciously throughout his life, always drawing on his spiritual practice for his outer capacity. Astoundingly, he continued to transcend his own weightlifting achievements well into his 60s and 70s. (Learn more about Sri Chinmoy’s weightlifting)
Learn from the legends
Sport & Meditation contains inner secrets and anecdotes from sporting legends past and present – in their own words. Here’s a little of what they have to say….
Believe me, the joy that comes from ‘going beyond’ is the most incredible feeling in the world. I have felt it many times. And I have enjoyed watching other athletes experience it.Carl Lewis
Sri Chinmoy ‘lifts’ the reader of this book into a world of peace and harmony, just as he had done physically by lifting more than 8,000 people through his program of “Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart”.Tegla Loroupe
Reading this book will allow you to experience a radiant and abundant awareness of how to achieve happiness.Tatyana Lebedeva
Sri Chinmoy is not merely lifting a dumbbell. He is trying to lift the attitude of the world. He is showing us that when we reach for the highest through meditation, we can succeed in anything.Bill Pearl
I believe there is a purpose behind the power I got for my athletic life: that I use the sport with the right attitude and for the benefit of my inner life.Paul Tergat
I believe that harmony within oneself and with the rest of the world is a key factor for athletic success and happy balanced life.François Gay
Excerpts from the book
Maintaining Your Poise Before a RaceBefore the race starts, meditate most soulfully for five minutes. Try to make yourself feel that you are not the competitor, but that Somebody else is competing in and through you. You are only the witness, the spectator. Since Somebody else is competing, you are at perfect liberty to watch and enjoy. While you are competing, sometimes it is very difficult to enjoy the race. Either the competitive spirit or frustration is killing you, or your body is not abiding by your mental will and you feel that you are literally dying…But before you start, if you can convince yourself that you are a divine observer and that Somebody else is competing in you, through you and for you, then fear, doubt, frustration, anxiety and other negative forces will not be able to assail your mind.
Concentration and Meditation for Marathon RunningBefore running, meditation is good to make the mind calm and quiet so that wrong forces do not enter. When you meditate, your mind acquires some poise. Then, while you are running, if you can bring forward this poise, it will help you overcome the mental frustration that often comes while running long distances. When you are running long distances, all kinds of frustrating thoughts will come and make you feel that what you are doing is useless. Or the mind will say, “Oh, this is boring,” and you will not want to take one more step. But if you were able to meditate earlier in the day, then you will have acquired some solid inner strength that will carry you mile after mile. Also, meditation teaches you how to empty your mind of thoughts. And if you can keep thoughts out of your mind while you are running, it will help you tremendously — far beyond your imagination.
Beyond the Age BarrierThe younger you can become, the faster will be your progress. This is absolutely no joke! I am fast approaching sixty-five years of age. I shall do a few more things in this lifetime which I could not do in my adolescent years. I have already done the head balance, which I could never do, even when I was a champion athlete. … If you sincerely want to make faster progress, you have to have a childlike heart. It is the mind that makes us feel we are too old, we are useless. This mind has to be silenced by the will of the heart, by the will of the soul.
RELATED REVIEWS AND ARTICLES
Sport & Meditation is a compilation of the advice given by Sri Chinmoy about both over the years. I bought it when i attended the week of free meditation classes given by the Sri Chinmoy centre in Dublin recently.read more
Meditation has long been associated with spiritual awakening and deep relaxation, but we uncover the roots of a particular mode of meditation launched by Sri Chinmoy, an Indian spiritual guru whose meditative theories extended into the athletic world.read more
An interesting article ‘Meditation and running’ written by a runner and manager of the specialist shop Run & Become in Cardiff, Amaravati Koshutova.read more
A review of the book Sport & Meditation by Tejvan Pettinger, a cyclist and the UK National hill climb champion, published on 3 July 2016 on www.cyclinguphill.com.read more
Ever wondered how meditation can change your life? Check out this amazing documentary
Challenging Impossibility illustrates that one should never give up, that we can write and rewrite our history through inspired enthusiasm and a faith in our inmost capacities.
This 28-minute short film features bodybuilding and strength legends Bill Pearl, Frank Zane, Hugo Girard, Mike Katz and Dan Lurie as well as nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis. Challenging Impossibility also features music by Explosions in the Sky and Arvo Pärt as well as appearances by Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Sting and Susan Sarandon.
QUESTIONS BY TOP ATHLETES
(USA, Winner of London Marathon 1981 with 2:11, 2nd place in Boston 1982 with 2:08:53)
Question: I ran a 2:08:53 marathon with primarily a road-racing background. Would it improve my chances of making the 1984 Olympic marathon team if I partake in training and racing the 10,000 meters on the track?
Sri Chinmoy: Definitely you will improve your marathon time if you run 10,000 meters on the track. Running is a physical subject, a mental subject, a philosophical subject and a subject of the Beyond. In the physical aspect, …read more
(Body-Building: Mr. World, Mr. Universe and twice Mr. Olympia)
Question: How important are yoga stretching exercises to the mind?
Sri Chinmoy: If one is practising stretching exercises thinking that he will be able to achieve peace of mind, then he is totally mistaken. No matter how many stretching exercises one takes, no matter how many hours one spends stretching, one cannot get peace of mind. Peace of mind comes only from one’s prayer-life and meditation-life. I have a few students who are extremely good at stretching exercises.read more
(USA, President of the Association of Road Racing Athletes; 4th place in the 1976 Olympics marathon in Montreal)
Question: Why do you think runners are often able to achieve a kind of meditative state while running?
Sri Chinmoy: Concentration and meditation are members of the same family. When a runner focuses all his attention on a particular race, he is in a position to free his mind from uncomely distractions. Here one-pointed concentration is the path-finder for deeper meditative consciousness.read more
(American 10,000 m champion, twice World Cross-Country champion, 2:10 marathoner)
Question: How do I cope with the pressure of winning or, on the other hand, the disappointment of losing, in a sports competition?
Sri Chinmoy: You can cope with the pressure of winning if, a few days before the race or even just before the start, you can imagine the pleasure of rejoicing in your victory. Imagination is not wishful thinking; it is not a baseless reality. Imagination is reality itself in another world. We bring it down to this world the way we bring down fruits from a tree.read more