WKFA Instructor Anne Vandrus

Sifu Anne Vandrus

Youth Student’s Corner

We start every Kung Fu class by sitting down, closing our eyes, and breathing. Why is meditation so important? What are we actually getting out of it?

If you’ve had a busy or exciting day, you could be thinking about a lot of things when you come to class – and that’s ok! But in order to be a good listener and do your best in class, you need to be able to focus both your mind and body on the task at hand. Just like a messy room, a busy brain can be distracting.

That’s where meditation can help! When you take a moment to clear your mind of distractions, you’re then ready to pay better attention to the instructors leading the class and be more focused on your training. A few minutes of meditation can go a long way in improving your focus.

So if the goal of meditation is to clear your mind, what should you be thinking about? Ideally you’d be thinking about nothing, but that’s very hard to do! So here are some ideas of what you can try to picture in your mind during meditation:

  1. Breathing. While your eyes are closed, try to imagine a giant glowing ball of energy inside of you. Every time you breathe in through your nose, see the ball of energy grow bigger. Then when you exhale through your mouth, watch it get smaller again.
  2. Kung Fu. You don’t always have to physically be doing the moves in order to practice. While your eyes are closed, imagine yourself going through your forms or sequences. If you’ve been having trouble with a tricky move, or just got a correction, picture yourself doing that move correctly, and it will help you when you actually do it in class.
  3. Wiping away your thoughts! It’s hard to get rid of all your thoughts sometimes, so what I like to do is think of a giant whiteboard in my mind that has everything I’m thinking of on it. Then, as you take deep breaths in and out, slowly wipe off all those thoughts from the whiteboard until it’s clean again.

While meditation is a great companion to Kung Fu, it can also help out with school or at home. If you’re having trouble focusing on a hard math problem, or you keep getting distracted while cleaning your room, take a minute and meditate. Breathing slowly with your eyes closed could help you concentrate on what needs to be done and help you do it.

Also, if you’re ever angry or stressed out, try taking a moment by yourself to focus on your breathing and calm down. It’s easier to handle a situation smartly once you’ve had a chance to cool down.

It doesn’t take long to meditate – just a minute or two – so I challenge everyone to try meditating at least one time every day. As with anything, you’ll get better with practice!