Many years ago I was studying with Tim Miller in Encinitas and asked him how best to teach the players I work with Yoga. He said, ‘don’t teach them, because that’s not the intention of the practice’. Fifteen years later I am still teaching them and yet remain conscious of the answer I was given by Tim.
I accept that the intention of the players may not be to achieve the ultimate goal of Yoga when doing asana. My own intention is to allow them to go beyond the physical, even for a moment. ‘Yogas citta vritti nirodahah’ – Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, or something like that. Footballers have many fluctuations of the mind, believe me, and using asana, pranayama and body awareness practices often leads them to a state of quieting those fluctuations.
Who knows what affect this seed may have on this and any future lives, but I sincerely hope that my intentions, despite the advice of my respected teacher, are received in a positive way by the players.
The image above of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev was taken when he attended one of the first team matches. He has been to speak to the players a couple of times and is a living example of a self-realised man. His presence had a profound effect on the team and I consider it a blessing for us all that he has a connection with us. Some of the players have practised simple kriyas and reaped the benefits, and for others it is enough to have seen a man of his uniqueness in the flesh.
Have we now got a team full of players without any fluctuations of the mind? Definitely not, but I hope that we have enriched their lives in some way and maybe planted the seed of future inquiry into the nature of their existence and the road to bliss. At least they may approach their activity with total abandon, as suggested by Sadhguru.
What do you make of Tim Miller’s stance on teaching Yoga, as described by Danny? As a teacher or practitioner of Yoga, what do you think about simply practising asana? How deep does your own practice extend ‘beyond the physical’? We’d love to hear your thoughts or responses to Danny’s article. Please feel free to add your voice to the discussion below.