Here at The Green Yogi we know that everyone can benefit from yoga. So it’s no surprise to us that the best athletes in the world are practicing their down dogs as much their touch downs.
The NFL has the reputation for being one of the toughest environments to work and succeed in. At the Rookie Symposium in June, Chris Ballard had harsh words for the recent draft picks, “Most of you will not be in this league three years from now… Nobody cares about your problems. The fans don’t care. The media doesn’t care. And ownership doesn’t care. They care about results.”
OUCH. Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a different philosophy. After being fired from the Patriots (and while coaching the Trojans) Carroll spent time, everyday single day, thinking and writing about how to change the role of “Coach” in the NFL. “I wanted to find out if we went to the NFL and really took care of guys, really cared about each and every individual, what would happen?”
His crazy idea is happy players are better players. Wild right? And it’s not just yoga in his arsenal. It’s meditation, nutrition, a live DJ at practice, and something called Neurotopia, a brain performance test that tracks everything from player’s sleep, goals, and stress levels. In addition it’s a culture Carroll is creating that is manifesting into his players every moment. Carroll’s mantra is simple yet powerful, “do your job better than it has ever been done before.”
To create his vision Carroll has aligned himself with an innovative support team. He has brought on high-performance sports psychologist and meditation leader Mike Gervais, an innovative and young (38) GM John Schneider, and drafted QB star Russell Wilson, who schedules weekly sessions with Gervais. “We do imagery work and talk about having that innovative mindset of being special,” Wilson says. “We talk about being in the moment and increasing chaos throughout practice, so when I go into the game, everything is relaxed.” Makes sense, right?
Offensive tackle Russell Okung shared “Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice. 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.”
Even the site of the Seahawks practice facility, The Virginia Mason Athletic Center, is a beacon of light in green technology. The City of Renton and Washington State Department of Ecology, has repurposed land that was once polluted by a coal tar refinery into an environmentally friendly practice site for the Seahawks while redeveloping surrounding natural wetlands.
I’m a Broncos fan to my core, but I’m going to be rooting for the Seahawks too this season!