The 2013-2014 professional football season culminated in one of the most incredible games in Super Bowl history. Stay with me here. The Seattle Seahawks had a great season, being named the strongest defense in the league, and finally, at Super Bowl XLVIII this year, they won by 35 points – that’s the equivalent of five touchdowns.
Still with me? Ok, I know this doesn’t seem all that relevant to the yoga world, but in fact, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has incorporated yoga and meditation into the team’s training, and hardly anyone could argue with the results. Now, was it great yoga that scored the points this season? No. But as any yogi can attest, body-awareness, flexibility and balance are only a few of the many benefits of the practice.
According to an interview with ESPN Magazine, Coach Carroll has also implemented a meditation practice with the team, and with it, promoted mindfulness and positivity. All that touchy-feely New Age stuff seems like it would never find its way onto a football field, let alone be embraced by Super Bowl champions, but these days yoga seems to be broadening its horizons. For yoga practitioners, this is wonderful news. The more diverse audiences’ yoga can reach, the more people who are ultimately drawn, curiously, skeptically, tentatively, into their first class.
A yoga and meditation practice has the power to not only transform an individual, but their community, and maybe even a football team or two. But the candles and sitar music aren’t for everyone, and that’s why the Seahawks are breaking new ground for the expanding yoga world. As people learn about the enthusiasm quarterback Russell Wilson has for sitting in lotus, they will start to reframe the practice outside of its traditional aesthetics.
Can you imagine a world where the President meditates with Congress each morning? Someday, we may just have a bunch of football players to thank for that!
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