Naomi Osaka wants to take you on a guided meditation, courtesy of Hyperice and Modern Health
When tennis champion Naomi Osaka announced that she was withdrawing from the 2021 French Open, and then two weeks later extended her break through Wimbledon, she unofficially—and perhaps involuntarily—became one of the highest-profile pro-athlete spokespeople for the importance of mental health.
At first, she wasn’t quite ready for it. “For a while, I felt like people were going to call me weak and say that I should be tougher and stronger,” says Osaka. “There are times I think I could have kept quiet and kept my feelings to myself, but then I hear people say how much I have helped them just by speaking up. And when I hear stories of how my opening up helped someone else get help, it makes it all worth it. Being vulnerable is freeing, and I feel that a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
The relief of that weight has also helped Osaka make mental health and wellness a bigger part of her commercial life. Already a spokesperson for Nike, Beats by Dre, Tag Heuer, Hyperice, and Sweetgreen (and an investor in the latter two), Osaka in May signed on as a partner for the mental health resources company Modern Health. Now, the tennis star is bringing two partners together by developing a guided meditation for Hyperice’s Core app and device, developed in collaboration with Modern Health.
The meditation includes Osaka calmly narrating instructions, inviting meditators to breathe in concert with gentle high and low tones, while users with a Core device will have its haptic pulses and biometric data to complement the meditation.
“I’m really proud of the new mediation that I worked on with Modern Health and Hyperice,” says Osaka. “I feel the more we keep the conversations going and share what works with each other, the more we can all help people who struggle with any type of mental health-related issues.”
Hyperice CEO Jim Huether says it’s been inspiring to watch how Osaka has carefully thought through the meditation content and its development. “It’s amazing to see athletes understanding the impact they can have and speaking out,” says Huether. “We just felt it’s a way for us to work with Naomi in a really meaningful way to improve mental wellness for our consumers.
“She had specific routines on meditation,” Huether adds, “that we are now pulling into the Core app and elevating with the Core technology.”