Try Zen Sports
Zen Sports combine your full physical, mental, and emotional energy into a sport.
Sick of going to the gym? Feel like it’s a job? Don’t have enough time to meditate, workout, and socialize? So find a Zen sport and do it with friends. When you combine your full physical, mental, and emotional energy into a sport, it becomes all-encompassing. After, I promise, you feel both physically and mentally refreshed.
At UWB, we understand health is holistic. Zen sports fall under this premise to specifically develop ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, grounding us with full focus and presence. Whether holding on to your handlebars for dear life mountain biking, running sprints in the dead heat, kitesurfing, or physically fighting, you have to use all facets of UWB. Simply put, you can’t think and do these activities at once; it takes your full concentration. Even sex, when done right, encompasses multiple aspects of your well-being. The beauty of it is that you don’t even need to do these exercises for hours but just twenty-thirty intense minutes will give you enough umph for the day.
Do these well and you will clear out your head and focus on your daily life. You’ll learn how to get into the zone each day. So read more here to learn about Zen Sports, and make it part of your routine in 2021.
Complete concentration pushes climbers through physical and mental challenges. Through rock climbing, a destination is always set, but the path is entirely provided up to the individual.
Those who do this already know that holding on for life while climbing up a wall is totally Zen. What I like about this is its strength training. Strength training in the gym has a lot of waiting/resting. It’s tough to rest when climbing up a wall. And if you do it outside, you can get some nature in.
“You will always feel fear, but over time you will realize the only way to manage your fear is to expand your comfort zone.” — Alex Honnold
Hitting/Throwing a Baseball
Baseball is a game, not a sport. Baseball is a powerful, explosive game if done correctly. That’s why baseball players do a lot of clean and jerks and hip exercises. However, I’d like to focus on the meditative aspects of hitting and throwing. Throwing or hitting a ball snaps you into focus faster than any other activity. It’s purely meditative and by default, you need a partner. Need to relax? Go have a game of catch and let me know how you feel.
“You can’t think and hit/throw at the same time.” — Yogi Berra
Martial arts are founded on form, technique, and respect for the community. The spiritual orientation of these arts focuses on self-defense, a beginner’s mind, and unique conditioning of the mind, body, and soul seeking to ultimately harness one’s inner strength. There lies no shortage of martial arts to select from whether karate, Jiu-jitsu, or muay Thai to train the entire body as a single functioning unit.
“Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” — Bruce Lee
With primal roots, archery has long had a respected place in human culture. From seamlessly knocking the bow, drawing tension in the string, and letting loose the arrow, archery provides an immediate feedback loop of effort. Similar to martial arts, a zen mind made of focus, determination, and inner mental stillness needs to be cultivated to ensure fundamentals are mastered and the tiniest gesture does not send the arrow flying.
In the long run, you only hit what you aim at – Henry Thoreau.
Surfing / Kitesurfing
Surfing is a metaphor for life’s high and lows. The surfer needs to empty the mind of fear as they walk to the ocean. Patient for the right opportunity and humble enough to submit to nature’s forces. Surfing provides moments of liberation and pride to fight through moments of fear, intimidation, and doubt. Calmly finessing the push and pull of the waves.
Recently, I’ve gotten more into Kitesurfing which takes concentration, balance, and strength. Getting over the initial fear of racing down the ocean also is an exercise in getting out of your comfort zone! And it’s a zen sport!
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. – Jon Kabat Zinn
Yoga is the union between mind, body, and spirit. It acts as a place of discovery and connection that encompasses balance, proper stretching techniques, breathing, meditation, centering the mind and spirit.
To briefly cover the physical benefits, yoga provides increased flexibility, respiration, muscle tone and strength, and decreases anxiety. These forms of spiritual exercise not only calm and focus the mind, but reminds us to add compassion in our daily routine.
Strive for progress, not perfection
Thirty minutes of extreme mountain biking will get your blood flowing, concentration focused, and adrenaline pumping. While you may get banged up a bit (I broke my shoulder last year), it’s not that dangerous if you take it easy. I find it less risky than road biking.
Follow Clarence’s breakdance routine. I like to dance and make it part of my weekly routine. Recently Clarence has gotten me into break dancing. It takes body control, leg strength, and HIIT stamina. It also brings a lot of creativity out.
Break dancing requires self-discipline; the reward is self-liberation — Clarence Chang
Run it out. I know: It’s painful and hurts. But let me tell you, you cannot run at full speed without full concentration. In a way its like meditating cross leg for 1 hour. You must endure the pain while maintaining focus —only a few minutes. Try a ladder routine. 1-minute sprint, 2-minute jog; 2-minute sprint, 2-minute jog; 3-minute sprint, 2-minute jog; 4-minute sprint, 2-minute jog. Then go back down.
Let us know your Zen Sport!