The word sport often gives you images of sweaty athletes in various attempts to get faster, reach higher or become stronger. But sports also praise silence, both in body and soul. Maintaining an inner silence in the face of competition requires serious mental control.
The zen-like state one wants to achieve in sports is remarkably similar to that of meditation, and Yin yoga is an important allied. Yin yoga, which aims to improve the ability of silence. A silence that is extremely important in all sports. An inner silence and mental control. A space between stimulus and response.
Techniques to quiet the mind should be a part of every athlete’s everyday life. Techniques including breathing exercises, visualization, meditation and recovery. It may be yin yoga poses in themselves, as a kind of meditation in motion. It can also be sitting meditation or breathing exercises that are practiced separately.
Yin yoga is an antidote to stress and injuries. A way of tapping into the body´s relaxation response.
The term “The relaxation response”, was coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, as a scientific term for meditation. He used the term to describe the body’s own ability to stimulate relaxation. In his book, The Relaxation Response, Dr. Benson’s presents scientific benefits of relaxation, such as how regular training of relaxation can effectively reduce stress levels and lower the rest period.
You see, relaxation requires training. Seeing relaxation as an “exercise” is an important aspect, as it is an ability that is gradually being built up.
For an athlete, stress is not uncommon. Busy training and contest schedule, injury, and other activities and responsibilities such as school, work and family life. One of the most valuable things an athlete can add to his regular exercise is thus to spend some time every day to practice relaxation through, for example, yin yoga and breathing techniques. A great skill that can make the athlete better equipped to handle unexpected factors, heal himself and achieve better health.