Mind of a Meditator- Tyrell Mara

This last month, we've been inviting some game changers and top players in to check out their MQ (or Mindfulness Quotient). Today, we meet Tyrell, a lululemon ambassador, a new dad, a future Olympic athlete, an optimum performer and, as Hiroko calls him, a gentle giant. 

Tell us about yourself in 140 characters or less. 

Insatiable addiction to chasing Big Crazy Audacious Goals - eyes set on Tokyo 2020 throwing Discus. I am a life long learner and have leadership DNA. I strive to have a positive impact in each experience and interaction - this is a life well spent. 

What is your background with mindfulness, meditation, floating, mental health, etc? 

"I remember time feeling as though it was almost standing still- I drove to the hoop, and finished a challenging layup at the basket"

Since that first exposure of "Flow" when I was 12 years old I have been on a life long journey to decipher the High Performance equation through mindfulness training. Over the last 2 decades I have been on a quest to understand how to leverage the "mind's eye" through meditation, visualization, hypnosis and mindfulness. My aim is to live fully in the present and have on demand access to peak performance states. 

I am only at the beginning of this life long learning journey about myself and how we live our 'best life possible' in each moment. 

What were your expectations prior to coming in for the MQ?

Having gotten to know Hiro prior to visiting Moment, I knew it would be nothing short of amazing. I didn't quite understand how "mind-blowing" the experience and the space would be. Going through the mindfulness quotient process was the first time I was able to see, in real time, the impact of our thoughts, our breath, and our mindfulness. It added a new level of validation that this work, for each and every one of us, is so important. 

The Moment meditation room is becoming a favourite mid-day meditation/nap refuge as I navigate the marathon of my 16 hour days. 

If you were to describe the MOMENT/ the MQ to your best friend, what would you say? 

Home away from Home. A safe space where you can find refuge and calm amongst our busy lives. A community of incredibly talented mindfulness scientists and practitioners eager to support your journey to a more peaceful and present life. 

Tyrell is an Optimal-Performing-Gentle-Giant. His dedication to his mission is humbling, and so is his kindness, and his intelligence. This man is a family man, a real athlete, a role model for many. Together we explored  the subtlety of the para-sympathetic journey and why the out-breath is so relevant for recovery. It really is because it is like a mini vacation and mini-vacations are fundamental, no matter if you are a student, a meditator, a regular guy, or a future Olympic Athlete, like Tyrell


Let us look at the whole picture. Tyrell's response is great for so many reasons.

First of all, his temperature continued to rise throughout the assessment. Excellent long term resistance to stress. See the orange line going up?

His vascular response is also extraordinary.

See how the blue signal shrinks and then grows again. These are his blood vessels optimally responding to a stressor, his brain releasing nore-epinephrine everytime he is exposed to stress, and then his ability to be mindful and leave the stress behind.

His space for improvement is in effortless breathing.

If we look at the graph all together, and we look at the last activity,  breathing, we see that the “task” is accomplished very “skillfully”, slow (around four breaths per minute),  abdominal breathing, with some variation in the heart rate mean.

Yet if we look more deeply, we see that the yellow, the micro sweat, the arousal, has little bumps, and the trapezius muscles are also activated. This represents effort. A task. Performing. In his words this is what he was thinking: “how much air can I get in, how much can I push out - how do I win this meditation exercise”

All words that involve a degree of doing. Aka not resting. Aka sympathetic.


So, what to do?
Surrender. Let go. Sink. Allow yourself to be breathed.