“To Be in the Flow”: Mindfulness in Athletes

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Sports is one field, where the physical and mental well-being have to be in sync with each other. Playing a competitive match is a classic example of the union of the body and the mind. All athlete who toil on their physical workouts realize fully well that they cannot ignore the significance of the mind!

Sport coaches emphasize on the importance of the mind. An athletes’ level of involvement is equally dependent on both factors; physical body as well as the mind. This harmonious relationship of the body with the mind allows the athlete to be completely “in the moment” while playing a game. Any thoughts of the past or emotional dreams about the future will only take their attention, away from the Game. The player gets caught in a “thinking pattern”, which will dilute their involvement in the game. Athletes tend to get distracted by the expectations or the outcome of the match; as a consequence of which, they don’t perform to their full potential.

We are born as “Human Beings” first, later, we become Athletes. With this awareness, we recognize the implication of “Yoga” in the field of Sports.

Sports psychology has become very important to improve players performance in a match. Winning and losing is directly linked to the way the athletes manage their emotions in the middle of a match. Psychologists are speaking the same language used in the schools of yoga to help athletes overcome frustrations and disappointments encountered in sports.

Psychologists are training athletes to use these negative frustrated thoughts as a fuel to transform their negative feeling into positive emotions. Coaches are fully aware of the athlete’s anxiety to perform during a match; they teach them to use this mental stress to enhance their game, by techniques which make them calm and peaceful. In yoga, the meditation techniques are teaching similar skills. Meditation tools, train the mind to be tranquil, despite of a stressful situation or an uncomfortable environment.

The athlete learns to maintain a 100% involvement in a match. Athletes profoundly devoted to the game, are known to be “Present” in a meditative mode. So, whenever an athlete excels, we use this popular phrase; “the athlete is in the flow” or “playing in full form”. That moment the athlete is Only and Only focused on the game. The body and mind are in sync with each other with no distracting thoughts. Any moment the players’ attention waivers their level of play drops!

Every athlete has experienced the pain of rejection or failure in Sports. Yoga teaches the players to see a bigger picture in life, which is bigger than their game. By doing so the entire perspective of playing sports gets redefined. With this change in thought process, the athletes convert any rejections into a motivating factor; rejections are considered as a “Gift” or “Opportunity”, to enhance their current position. This new way of dealing with problems, encourage them to get out of their comfort zone to make themselves “open” to new possibilities. Hence, Athletes develop the quality of patience and perseverance. They become more resilient and tap into their hidden potential.

Learn to play with a relaxed Mind, yet alert at the same time with no anxiety. The quote below explains the essence of Yoga in Sports” by Swami Vivekananda

“In kicking a ball or playing a game, you are much closer to the Divine than you will ever be in prayer.” Because you can pray without involvement, but you cannot play sports without involvement.

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