The centuries-old practice of meditation is having a moment right now. World leaders, major corporations, and even sports teams are acknowledging the myriad benefits of meditation. And the Miami Heat is leading the way. On Sunday, the team is hosting the largest-ever mass meditation at a sporting event.
Before the Heat vs. Celtics game kicks off, the 20,000-strong crowd will participate in a “Mindful Moment" led by Davidji (the first Dean of Chopra Center University and a meditation guru so well-known that he can go by one name, like Madonna) and stress-management expert Shelly Tygielski. Everyone will do some mindful breathing in order to "get present, raise the vibe, and get energized," before the primetime madness begins.
"Athletes in general, basketball specifically, and the NBA are no strangers to mindfulness and the incorporation of meditation into their coaching repertoire," says Rachel Sapoznik, president and CEO of Sapoznik Insurance (once of the event's lead sponsors). "The Heat, as an organization, understands that the wellness demographic is a key part of sustainable growth and outreach to the South Florida community."
In addition to the pregame ritual, an entire family-friendly mindfulness festival is planned for the afternoon ahead of the jump ball. From 1 to 3 p.m., Heat Nation Meditation ticket holders can shop, mingle, learn more about meditation, and visit with local practitioners. Then the mass meditation kicks off at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $30 each and include admission to the mindfulness festival and the game itself.
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The entire idea was inspired by popular meditation sessions that started over a year ago on Hollywood Beach. Organized by Tygielski, founder of America Meditates, the classes are called "See You on the Sand" and attract hundreds of people per week.
The pregame meditation session isn't a one-off event, either. There's more mindfulness to come.
"With the success of this event and the already positively overwhelming response, additional mindfulness and wellness events will be planned and promoted throughout the season," adds Sapoznik.
Heat Nation Meditation. The mindfulness festival runs from 1 to 3 p.m. and the Heat v. Celtics game starts at 5 p.m. at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd. Tickets to the festival cost $30 each and include game admission. Visit heatnationmeditation.com.