What do Stephanie Gilmore and Tyler Wright share in common? Apart from winning world titles, they both practise Kelee meditation. Tyler started practising just over a year ago and in the process made some important changes to her life… Her most recent success and overall ability to power through the tougher periods are a great advertisement for the power of the mind. With the help of Matt Griggs, surf coach and Kelee teacher, we decrypt this confidential but up and coming practice.
Is Kelee meditation the secret to becoming a World Champion?
It might play a part, but there are many! On average, 20% of your performance goes up and down with your technique, your equipment, nutrition, exercise… The other 80% lies with your state of mind. So while it’s not everything, it’s a significant part of the puzzle.
So what exactly is Kelee meditation?
These two things are totally separated. You have Kelee itself and then there’s meditation. Kelee sets the groundwork with understanding and meditation provides the technique. It helps people openly troubleshoot and understand their mind. Kelee meditation is the practice of keeping the mind in situ as that stillness is where you get clarity, perception and awareness.
“Kelee helps people troubleshoot and understand their mind.”
Does it mean that you try to make your mind go blank?
Not blank, no. You’re not asleep, but you’re aware of nothing. You’re not thinking, you’re not doing anything, you’re not visualising, you’re not focusing on your breath… If you do something it becomes a concentration exercise and translates as an action. Meditation is supposed to be inactive, a “being” process. One of the hardest things to do is to let your mind become still. The practice of Kelee is to achieve that stillness.
It’s hard to imagine onesself achieving stillness of the mind…
And the reality is you probably can’t in the beginning! But you can work towards that goal. If you decide to surf for the very first time after watching Stephanie Gilmore become a world champion, you are not going to achieve that the same day! However, you can very slowly move towards this goal. Meditation is no different. Never give up, as you’ll enhance yourself and get better at it. Learning how to still your mind is probably the most challenging element but that’s where you’ll find peace… If you’re aiming to perform at a high level, you need a mind that can’t be distracted.
Concretely, how would Kelee help with surfing?
Ask yourself what has been the most overwhelming or biggest influence in your surfing life. If you answer honestly and openly, you will probably say that sometimes you can be scared in the water due to the big waves, other’s judgements, making mistakes, etc. So you end up not trying new things. Being a holistic coach, I look at everything that impacts performance and I soon realised that the biggest influence was our state of mind. If you have a mind that is highly distracted or fearful, then you’ll encouter obstacles. Thanks to ex professional surfer Taylor Knox, once I discovered Kelee I quickly realised it was a practical and easy way to train the mind. No matter where you’re going and what you want to achieve, Kelee brings more awareness of knowing “how to” and the fear subsides.
“When you surf, you feel the wave, not think it.”
So Kelee meditation helps make these “fear” blocks fade away?
Exactly. You will learn to operate without tension. When you surf, you need to feel the wave, not think it. But if you’re fearful, it creates tension in your body that blocks your technique and movement. How many times have you not done something because of fear? In time, Kelee teaches you to operate from your awareness, not your fears. And what a much better way to live!
How often should we practice?
It’s only a 5 minute meditation practice that you do twice a day, every day. In the morning as soon as you wake up and at night before you go to bed. Spend 5 minutes in stillness, then slightly more time in contemplation. Whatever you learn from your self observation will be put into action afterwards. That’s how we learn and grow. When you direct your awareness to something, it will grow. Always. Whatever that thing that may be.
By Lauren Horky