Yoga is just like football. Well, except for the fact that one of the very first tenets of yoga is Non-Violence (ahimsa), and football is an extremely violent game – yoga is just like football.
Tom Brady is one of the most successful athletes of all time in any sport. He knows that success isn’t decided on Sunday: but in the days, weeks, months, and years leading up to game time. One of my football coaches used to say:
“Cry in the dojo;
Laugh on the battlefield.”
He’s the first player at the training facility in the morning. You hear in the way he answers questions at press conferences his singular focus of preparing himself for the next game. His diet doesn’t consist of Nachos and Jack and Cokes, but wholesome and nourishing food. He isn’t staying up until midnight watching old movies, he’s asleep in bed well before most of the commoners in New England.
Tom knows better than anyone the value of training, commitment, and PRACTICE. Yea I’m talking about practice man.
It’s not as flashy or fun to talk about as Allen Iverson crossing someone up on the court, but it’s the difference between being someone who has a good run, and being someone who gets stronger as they go. It’s the difference between getting a trophy just for showing up, and having one named after you. Practice is the difference between just floating along through life, and living it to your fullest.
Now I’m not saying that doing yoga is going to make you Tom Brady. It won’t. But it will make you more like him. A regular yoga practice ingrains in your very body language the habits that make Tom successful.
In yoga you practice:
- breathing calmly through your nose
- standing tall from your feet right through to the top of your head
- focusing your eyes downfield
- putting yourself in challenging positions and learning to thrive
- harnessing thoughts and emotions to your benefit
And the most helpful thing to come from my personal yoga practice has been the
- reprogramming my “normal” way of interacting with my life and the world to make myself more proactive rather than reactive. To take my thoughts out of it and let my instincts take over.
That’s what I loved about playing football, and that’s what I love about practicing yoga. The simplicity of it.
In high school every day after school I would go and learn from my coaches. As much as we griped about them, they did a pretty good job to keep practice fun. Every day we would go over “reads” and responsibilities. Basically in my role as a defensive tackle I was watching the helmet of the guy in front of me. If he went left, I was to hit him and prevent him from moving me, right I was to hit him and go around him, and if he dropped back I was to hit him and drive through him to the quarterback. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
I didn’t have to get creative, or do arithmetic, or conjugate any verbs in the past imperfect. I just had to practice reading and reacting so much that it became the new normal for me.
Then, on Saturday afternoon out on the field I got to use all of that training. I got to live in the fullest and purest experience of my body, not in my brain.
As an 18 year old kid with hormones and uncertainty about what I wanted to do with my life – it was a treat to get to do that.
Now as a 28 year old man with a full time job, marriage, kids, a business, and still some of the same questions about “what do I want to do with my life” it’s an absolute necessity to get to turn off my brain and spend some time in the deeply physical space of my yoga practice.
Just like the work a football player puts in all week shows out on the gridiron, so too does my work on my mat show when it’s game time for me. At work, at home, and out in the world the reactions I program in during practice determine the very difference between my successes and failures.
And as much as this notion of smashing someone in the mouth in the real world can feel like it would be rewarding, that high is fleeting. This yoga practice helps dissolve the emotional weakness in us that makes us feel like someone else is responsible for our problems. It helps to remind us that anything worthwhile is worth fighting hard for and there is no other way to get what you want than to physically start moving your body and your life in that direction.
Your natural state is one of strength, health, clarity, and happiness.
Let us help you find it.
Please please please email me, call me, text me any time with any questions that will help make you feel more comfortable starting your yoga practice. All of our classes are all levels and $10 all the time to make this as accessible to as many people as possible. Come and join us – especially if you look or feel like an offensive lineman. This practice is purposefully designed to be doable for people of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. Don’t let another day slip by.
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