TM is the Game Changer: A Conversation with Laura Eiman, Gold Medalist in Olympic Weightlifting and Women’s Certified Mental Toughness Coach
I recently had the opportunity to ask Laura Eiman about her amazing story. She told me, “I loved sports and I loved watching Olympic athletes.” That love served her well when the sport of Olympic Weightlifting literally found her ten years ago. She not only mastered it, competed nationally and internationally, and won a gold medal, but also found balance, joy, and the satisfaction of living a healthy, productive life.
She now coaches other women, helping them to gain the same mental toughness she found and to take care of themselves and live happy, productive lives. She points out that there were two key techniques that enabled her success—adopting the Navy Seal mindset and the Transcendental Meditation practice.
Adopting the Navy Seal Mindset
At age 49, Laura found herself in the midst of several life crises, including a divorce, a life-long sugar addiction, and the challenge of raising two young children by herself. At a friend’s house one day, watching a documentary on Navy Seals, she made a life-changing decision: inspired by the Navy Seals’ principles and training, Laura decided to adopt their mindset.
And that was the last day she ate sugar. She started to read everything she could find about the Navy Seals, “I was inspired to copy what they were doing and thinking. I wanted to turn my life around for my children.”
What is the Navy Seal mindset? Laura explains, “First of all, they don’t believe in quitting. There is no such thing as quitting in their world. They train to develop this mindset. Also, Navy Seals know how to build fires in the rain. How does that translate into our lives? We all have rainy days. Do we climb into bed and binge on Netflix and chips, or do we learn how to build a fire on that rainy day to get us out of our slump and participate in life?”
Laura continues, “That’s how I got started and here I am, 22 years later. I care deeply about helping other women who have been where I was. I am teaching/coaching women to get the mental toughness they need to help turn their lives around.”
Practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM)
Laura re-discovered TM over five years ago. “My life made a tremendous advancement forward when I started practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique. I learned TM when I graduated from college back in the early 70s, but it didn’t stick for some reason. When a new formidable family crisis emerged in my later life and I was crumbling under all the challenges, I thought, ‘You know what? I remember this TM thing. Why don’t I check it out again?’”
She sought guidance from local certified TM teachers near her home in Florida and started the practice again. Laura describes, “I felt, ‘This is great.’ I feel like I am coming home. There is something really good about this that I can use.’ I involved myself and I was 100% in—committed to 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening on my own and sometimes I participated in group meditations.”
Trying Olympic Weightlifting
Laura continues, “Then all of a sudden, when I was 61 years old, a sport called Olympic Weightlifting shows up in my life.” Laura had been involved intensely in the Crossfit program for three years when a coach in her gym invited her to train in Olympic Weightlifting. “I thought, ‘I’m up for new experiences’ and I figured I’ll give it a try,” she said. “Olympic Weightlifting is lifting barbells over your head in two moves—the clean and jerk and the snatch. It is 99 % mindset and strategy. It’s all technique and requires focus and concentration.”
Laura became serious, “I remember looking at that barbell and I said to myself, ‘I am wondering if this barbell can teach me more about discipline and mental toughness, which I was already coaching. Also, because TM helps me focus—that could help me as I learn the strategy to lift this barbell over my head.’ I trained for five months and had lots of fun as I mastered the sport.”
Laura’s coach then invited her to compete, first in state and then in national competitions. She was amazed that she qualified for the world championships twice, once in Barcelona and once in New Zealand. She says, “Then the last competition I did was the Pan Am games in the Dominican Republic which included about 15 countries. That’s where I won a gold medal.”
She points out, “Because of TM, I had a calmness about me, a level of ‘Gee why not?’ Instead of anxiety and worry and fretting, I could allow myself to be open-minded and say, ‘I am going to do this!’”
She concludes her story by telling me, “I am constantly turning people onto TM! They say to me, ’I want what you have. What are you doing?’ And I reply, ‘I am doing a bunch of stuff but here’s what is most important:
If I had one thing I was allowed to take with me to a desert island, would it be no sugar for 22 years? Would it be my nutrition program? Would it be my exercise program? Nope. It would be the TM practice because it’s from my TM practice that everything else in my life falls into place.’”
About the Author
Taoline Oaas, PhD, is an assistant professor at Maharishi University of Enlightenment in the USA and Rajapark Institute, Thailand