Yoga and meditation win the Super Bowl

Published: February 5, 2014, 9:46 am, by Jen Mulson

meditation athletesIf I was forced to sit down and root for any sports team, it would be the Broncos. I felt a few seconds of sadness at their big loss on Sunday, but onward and upward.

Turns out the Seattle Seahawks had one large advantage over Denver – the team’s coach makes them practice yoga and meditate. Now see? People poo poo the yoga and the meditating to me all the time, but it could have won our boys a football ring.

Here’s a link to a story that ran on an ESPN website in August:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9581925/seattle-seahawks-use-unusual-techniques-practice-espn-magazine

An excerpt from the story by Alyssa Roenigk:

HERE’S THE THING about the Seattle experiment: It’s only the beginning of what the Seahawks intend to be a total revamp of the way a football franchise approaches the physical and mental well-being of everyone in the organization. Team chef Mac McNabb feeds the players fruits and vegetables from local organic farms. He takes any leftovers to a nearby family-run farm to feed free-range chickens, which are raised specifically for the Seahawks cafeteria. Ramsden and Gervais spend their spare time attending conferences, meeting with nutritionists and sleep experts, and, judging by the mound of boxes in Ramsden’s office, buying any new tech gadget that could be the next breakthrough in maximizing athletic performance. At the start of last season, Ramsden gathered data on most of the Seahawks, including blood and vision analyses and sleep and conditioning profiles. At practice, player movement is tracked via GPS so the team can monitor workloads. Ultimately, Ramsden would like to have players and coaches wear wristbands to track sleep habits and, when necessary, adjust practice schedules to maximize rest. (Can you imagine Bill Belichick sending everybody home from practice early to catch up on shut-eye?)

The Seahawks hope to one day have daily mental health check-ins to monitor players’ off-the-field problems. Owner Paul Allen, no stranger to innovation, has indicated that he wants his MLS franchise, the Seattle Sounders, to follow the Seahawks’ model.

For now, though, the next step is getting everybody on the meditation bandwagon. “Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice,” Okung says. “It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can’t do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them and change them.”