We hope you’ve had an easy, restorative July! We have been rolling with the waves, letting the water energy of this season flow through us, and surrendering to the flow as we go:)
For this newsletter, Josh is going to break down the mechanics of how sound meditation and neurofeedback can benefit athletes and performers. We have found in our clinical work that this is a population of folks who greatly benefit from deep relaxation, cardiovascular, and nervous system support.
This week we have been lucky to spend time with a top notch athlete (my father!) who is in town to run the San Francisco Marathon! We recorded a neurofeedback session he had with Josh, and for this month’s musical offering, we are sharing the track from his session! If you ever wanted to hear how a marathoner relaxes or get a glimpse into the brain of an athlete, now is your chance:) This is also an example of the kind of ambient, meditative, personalized track you would receive of your own brain waves making music if you had a session of your own!
We are so excited about the health benefits of neurofeedback and look forward to turning many people on to these practices.
Pre-Game Brain: Athletes and Performers
by Joshua W Bruner
Things can get overly intense before a big game or an important performance. Everything is on the line. The pressure is overflowing. If you feel like this stress has been impacting your sleep and your mental focus you could be sabotaging yourself simply because you didn’t take the time to relax and reset. Sound meditations embedded with Alpha entrainment can play a crucial role in helping you stay sharp and in the moment when you need to perform at your best.
Were you aware that high level athletes have a unique advantage over most of us when it comes to their brainwaves?
Athletes naturally produce more Alpha activity which allows them to occupy “the moment,” make incredibly quick adjustments, and accurate physical decisions at speeds that are incredible.
“An athlete’s actions are much more than a set of automatic responses; they are part of a dynamic strategy to deal with an ever-changing mix of intricate challenges. Athletes may perform better than the rest of us because their brains can find better solutions than ours do” (http://discovermagazine.com/2010/apr/16-the-brain-athletes-are-geniuse).
Meditation states are also associated with our Alpha brainwaves.
So if an athlete/performer already produces more Alpha brainwaves why would they need to meditate? Great question! The accumulation of pre-game/pre-show stress, repetitious training routines, high self-expectations, and more, can lock a person’s brain into unhealthy Beta loops, causing them to make avoidable missteps and unnecessary errors. If there are too many Beta brainwaves being produced we get stuck overthinking every move, become overwhelmed with anxiety, freeze, or even become overly aggressive. By simply adding 12-20 minutes of sound meditation to your daily routine, you can begin to chip away at those stressful edges and sharpen your mental focus and physical performance.
Elite athletes have recently been using neurofeedback and meditation to further improve their attention, improve emotional control, to slow cognitive decline, improve sleep, and to restore brain function after traumatic brain injury. Neurofeedback is a passive technology which encourages the brain to improve its capabilities without drugs or invasive techniques.
In our neurofeedback music sessions at Flower & Frequency, we monitor your Alpha and Theta brainwaves and translate your brain data into ambient music in real time. The more you relax into Alpha, the more musical notes are played. The more Theta brainwaves you create, the higher the musical note will be. The act of generating music with your meditative brainwaves creates positive neural connections which quickly elevate any level of meditation to new heights.
You can experiment with neurofeedback at home with the Muse EEG headband or book a private brain music session with us at Anchor Meditation. Save 15% on Muse by clicking here.
If you don’t have access to neurofeedback you can also try using entrainment techniques like binaural, monaural, or isochronic beats to stimulate your Alpha brainwaves before a game or performance. It takes about 10 minutes for the mind to sync into the desired brainwave state. We highly suggest the MindPlace Kasina if you want to add visual stimulus to upgrade your entrainment game.
The next time you have a big game moment coming up in your life, take full advantage of meditation, neurofeedback, or brainwave entrainment to help you easily center your mind and relax enough to perform at your highest capabilities.
Gathering On The Grass: Ambient Sunsets on Saturday 8/3/19
Oh, and while we have you here, we’d also like to thank those who have ventured out for one of our sunset sound meditations! It’s been a pleasure watching the skies change colors and the birds swooping casually by all of us as we drift. The combination of meditating outdoors with ambient music generated with nearby plants has a special calming quality to it that can’t be put into words. We’re looking forward to hosting several more of these outdoor events before we leave the Bay Area for Big Bear Lake this fall! We hope you can join us for one or all of these ambient sunsets. Our next Gathering On The Grass will be on Saturday, August 3rd. You can book your headphones here.
With Much Love,
Nora and Josh