Like many Americans – I get excited to watch the Olympics. I laugh, I cry, my heart pounds! I find myself looking at these athletes and being inspired by their ‘yogic qualities.’
Their hearts are wide open. No matter how many times they lose (and they must lose a lot) – they lead life with their heart. They don’t close off when they are down. They go out time and time again and open to grace. Their stories are epic; how they got to the Olympics, their life path. Each one has a unique journey.
Each one has to believe in themselves. Sure we all experience negative self-talk, but Olympians have to create a space in the mind to believe in themselves. They have to be their own biggest fans.From that place of strength they rise to greatness.We already know: Yoga is a practice of the mind. We use the physical to access the mind. The Olympics appear to also be a physical practice. But above all, being an athlete in the Olympics means having a strong mind-body connection and a strong mind.
When looking at the 8-limbed path of yoga – four (half) of the limbs are directed at the practice of the mind. Two limbs are physical (pranayama and asana) and two are ethical practices (yamas and niyamas). As an Olympic athlete we could create a similar ‘8-limbed path’; 1) Strength 2) Grace 3) Speed 4) Breath Control 5) Perseverance 6) Focus 7) Drive 8) Surrender, Contentment and Bliss.
As a life-long student and teacher of yoga, I see the practice everywhere. It’s pure beauty to witness. Above all, whether you are a world class athlete or on your mat, the practice can guide you to your best self, one step at a time.
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