Monday night’s Saints vs. Patriots game changed me. It’s funny that even an NFL game can be a yogic transformation. Really – there’s yoga in football, believe it or not.
I have to admit, I’m the last person you’d expect to see enjoying a football game. I’ve had a pretty steady lack of interest in most competitive sports for, well, most of my life. Without a doubt, the New Orleans Saints have won over a very reluctant fan.
Here’s the story:
Now, we live in New Orleans, and the whole area is up in overjoyed excitement about the fact that the Saints are currently undefeated. There is definitely something compelling about the feeling of belonging of that kind of spirit, and it’s hard not to get swept up by it, especially when your team is winning.
But this is even bigger than that. People are proud of their football team, and they’re proud of their city. And right now, in New Orleans, that means a whole lot!
I was in the living room with my boyfriend and my parents as the Saints went on to win 38-17 against the new England Patriots. But even as I watched and cheered and laughed at my mom’s excellent commentary, the yoga teacher in me marveled at the subtleties of it all.
First of all, what’s making the Saints extraordinary right now is, beyond the fact that they’re playing exceptional football, they’re working as a whole team. It isn’t just one guy running the ball and scoring touchdowns, or making key blocks – they’re spreading the love out and EVERYONE is contributing. Thus, the whole team shares the thrill of the spotlight and the well deserved credit of excellence.
Which makes me think of the interconnectedness of everything – yes, I can get esoteric in any context – and how all parts participate to create something whole.
In your yoga practice, for example, if you use every part of your body you will experience a much fuller and satisfying practice compared to if you forget your fingertips or smile or inner beauty. Same goes for your life – if one part of who you are is not honored and utilized, chances are you’ll notice and feel something is missing.
Beyond the players on the field and sidelines, the Superdome was ROCKING with Shakti! Talk about creative power – there were black and gold clad, superstar fans making so much noise they reported the decibel levels in the paper the next day. And you better believe that the will of those watching contributed to the energy and outcome of the game.
We can feed each other with our support and blessings in any arena.
The Force Is Strong With These Ones
Another thing that stood out was the laser focus of the players. Look into the eyes of a quarterback as they launch a perfectly aimed missile into the arms of a moving target 40 yards away. There’s big time beauty (and serious skill) in that!
“How do they do that?” my dad remarked after a particularly perfect long touchdown pass from New Orleans’ Drew Brees.
“They use The Force, Dad,” I replied.
And I meant it. Those guys are so in the zone. That’s where we go in the dance of yoga, or in a state of meditation. Sure, it’s a different flavor of focus, but they’re in the moment as sure as anything, and that’s one of the main pursuits of yoga.
The force of energy that courses through the veins of the players and fans as they both participate in the game is a form of Shakti. It can be directed with intention and prayer and strong will. It is the universal energy of being and, yes, it plays football.
Compassion And Keeping It Real
You might laugh, but I felt bad for the Patriots – I just want everyone to be happy, it’s in my nature. This is why I don’t generally watch competitive sports.
Sure, I want the Saints to win, but I don’t want anyone to lose. Yes, I understand, it’s silly given the way games like this work, but, well… That’s how I feel.
When I told that thought to my mom she said something like, “We’ll extend them our compassion,” which I thought was a well placed point. Compassion is healing, though I still felt a bit bad for them, not that it does anyone any good.
I must say I was quite happy to see them all come together after the game and watch different members of both teams smile and respect each other. At the same time, it seems a bit sticky to me, because it’s their livelihoods, and yet it’s also “only a game.”
But it’s beyond just a ‘game’ to so many people who are riding the wave of what I’ll kindly call Football Craziness. Some people are so intertwined with their love of their team and sport that while a win drives them into the field of bliss, a lose can devastate their day.
So I think there’s a need to ‘Keep It Real’. To not only have compassion for the players and enjoy the rush of the game itself, but to also remember that it’s an ongoing, ever changing dance, and that – even though I’m rooting for the Saints to keep up their winning streak straight through the Superbowl – it’s important to be centered enough in yourself to not get buried in the wake of the wave of any game, or any other challenge in life.
- Yoga can truly be seen and practiced everywhere. What about you – what aspects of yoga do you pick up on in football or other sports? Please leave a comment below with your insights (or just tell me how much you loved the game!)