On the onset let me dive into a bit of science so that it doesn’t come across some magical yoga class to you. Unlike yoga students, subjects here are a mix of very noisy, bubbly, hyperactive (some), intense characters. Young sportsman as they are known. Lot of different dimensions/science go into achieving 100% relaxation in a team environment as physical characteristics are touched and maneuvered on the basis of their sport, their existing condition/situation, and what they need in real time match situation.
Science: Badly needing neuroplasticity, I started reading about the brain on one morning recently. And I stumbled (again) upon a podcast of Dr Andrew Huberman (my favourite go to guy for brain) and I heard it again. Only this time my motive was not to just understand the science behind changing of brain (neuroplasticity) specifically but bringing it to effect immediately (n=1 sorts!). I needed it.
Most of my research work always comes in the times of need and not when I feel like studying.
Dr Huberman explains the nervous system beautifully and connect it with body via – Sensation, Perception, Feelings, Thoughts, Behaviour. As per him, researches have also proved that ‘neuroplasticity’ (changing the brain) is not age bound and ‘power of focus’ is what triggers it. Interestingly, it transpires during deep sleep & rest. And then we wonder why we feel relaxed when we find deep sleep. The more intense the concentration, the more focus it brings he said.
Science in short as I understand it:
Step 1: Neurons at ‘Nuclie Basil’ release acetylcholine(Ach) that causes stress or agitation – outside feedback we can think.
Step 2: One of the physiological outcomes of ‘stress’ is release of Nonepinephrin (a hormone and a neurotransmitter produced by the adrenal glands)
Step 3: We then focus/bring our attention to the subject. Both counter balance/converge with ‘focus’ and dopamine is released as another physiological measure. An outcome of positive focus and thinking.
That’s hardcore science for you. After finishing this I rushed to my article that i had written and published a few days back. I could connect each and every element of what he explains as science and how I was achieving it in a live session. In fact, if you read my words (am not editing it now), you will get an essence of science without I mentioning any neurological term.
Ancient science was lived. Modern science is a revelation of ancient science that helps seekers like us to understand the scientific version of what goes inside chemically.
Interestingly, when you will read my below mentioned article, you will realise that I am achieving 100% focus (as I have written), I am taking their perception to innerself; I am taking their feelings where they are liking it and thereby controlling their thoughts via my command; and lastly, the amalgamation of everything and achieving peace – just as how Brain scientists explain it. Only this time we are achieving everything via breath and not dopamine!
So, let me take you through the simpler version of understanding brain/mind, focus, relaxation, and how it all leads to neuroplasticity via a recent study in a live environment where I touched on each and every element of Nervous system without spelling any of the above.
So science brings lot of clarity in us but how we take use of science in real time environment, all of it is not learnt in labs. It can also be learnt, experimented, and joyed in real time environments.
It’s been a while since i wrote about relaxation training, which to me, is one of the main pillars of our strength & power output. Do not be mistaken by the photos…they are the same bubbling youth that wouldn’t stay quiet even for a minute! Not one or two…22 of them in a hall!!
Fatigue = Mental, physical, & physiological
Situation – Haven’t been practicing or playing much; not been exercising intensively; not been sticking to any schedule; lastly, there is not much to prepare! Or some days we have had back to back hard days on field/travel etc.
When life takes us through these phases; we not only get mentally tired but our physicality deny to buzz with same current as usual. We feel lethargic, empty, feeling-less, etc. etc. YES? If you have had a tiring day on field then you will not only be physiologically fatigued as it is taken to be; in fact, it will bring mental and physical fatigue as well. You see how you perceive. Likewise, mental fatigue doesn’t only necessarily fatigue mind per se; it leads to physical exhaustion as well even if it is not physiological. TREAT FATIGUE AS ONE and work towards it.
FATIGUE is a combination of all kind of fatigues. We often mistake sleeping on easy beds or spending entire day on couches as relaxation. NOOOOOOOOO….its more tiring than being on the field if done over a period of time.
Researches: Researches have proven that training mind alone did not fetch any better results in top athletes. Best results are achieved when we imbibe mind training in physical training.
NEED: The key requirement in this scenario is to ignite our inner-self, re-kindle the circuitry pathway, move our butt as it likes, shake the mind, making our joints feel lively again, and lastly CONNECT everything together. But for that to happen…even a teacher like me would need the TRUST of your athletes. They are not yoga students in an ashram!
Ques: When do you know you have the trust of your athletes?
Ans: In a match season of quarantine and rain; while training my boys in a hall one evening, I got the answer to the above. The answer is when athletes surrender to you. And now you can take them where you wish to. They believe in you. Even in a cardio session in the same hall next day; their focus was un-buzzed through out.
Ques: How do they reach to that stage?
When we work through our body, touching every nerve, shaking every joint, and finding release within us without any external stimulant. At ease. We love to do anything that relaxes us internally.
I tested it one evening by announcing that we will doing the entire (1 hour) session with our eyes closed. They will just follow my command and no matter what, they will not open their eyes. I took them to a journey that they sailed into it like never before.
Ques: How is it different to a Yoga session?
In a Yoga session, in a sports environment, the focus circles around asana’s or breath. Relaxation session circles around finding resistance within and releasing the aches. At ease. No asana, just find your point with the teacher and stay there. Then, I would take them to a journey where they surpass their limits, their focus is 100%, and everything seems connected within. Be it breath or mind or physiology (- In modern era it is known as CNS training) I would take them to their matches, to their loved ones, to their future, to their existing situation, to everywhere they can relate to in their mind, their eyes closed, and their visualisation strongest. They responded back by staying grounded.
It was one of the most beautiful one hour for me when I saw my students (read naughty brats) following every word of what I was saying, their eyes closed, and they slowly transcending into a state of being. Their face displayed calmness, their physicality portrayed absolute stillness, and their expressionless devotion; all confirmed their meditativenes in the process.
This to me is the ultimate recovery and training because not only they worked physically; they worked on their mind, the connect with self, and the breath (prana). Rejuvenated.
Next day when we all went for practice, they felt lighter, faster, motivated, and composed. Job done.