Sports and games have always been the enchanting offshoots of human instinct to enjoy life and be happy. In tune with the growth of man and the value system in the society around him, the intricacies and the goals of sports and games have changed. The modern era of science and technology is featured by the analysis and accuracy of a questioning mind with a deterministic approach and economy-based value system in the society. In tune with this, the sophistication and complexities in sports and games have also greatly increased. Computers have become almost mandatory to cope with the accuracy and speed. Lots of money is involved with modern sports, and therefore, a prize-oriented approach and competitive spirit dominate the scene. Thus the era of science and technology has its influence in the region of sports and games too.
The modem era has introduced a large number of games and sports and is continuing to develop newer games. The whole spectrum can broadly be classified as individual and collective, predominantly physical or mainly intellectual. Of course, permutations combinations do exist among many sports. If Golf is mainly an individual game, Cricket is collective, floor gymnastics, physical and chess intellectual. There is today probably a trend towards more collective and physical games and sports.
The main problems in sports can now be enumerated as follows.
Psychological level: The sportsmanship and the sportive spirit which have to be maintained are forgotten due to greed and emotional stresses. Then their pretty personality pattern comes to the surface. Due to this a good player and at times the whole team has to suffer and get disqualified.
Mental level: The creativity and the will power at the mental level are vital to achieve success in sports. In any game or sport activity, the player progressively loses his Inner awareness and gets completely identified with the event of sport or game. It is at this moment that the personality traits and emotional imbalances take charge of the player. The creativity and the will power are reduced greatly; it is then that unwanted incidents occur.
Emotional level: Any sportsman, even in his best form, develops apprehensive tension before the start of the event. Competitive type of tensions during the actual performance and even winning or losing is not without tensions. These emotional imbalances are at the root of their quick deterioration in their peak performance. Besides the imbalances may result in many psychosomatic ailments.
Physical level: In the modern international level of competition, the individual participant works himself to the physiological maximum and even beyond to achieve peak performance. Further in an attempt to develop particular skills, certain parts of the body and mind are developed at the cost of other areas of the body and different aspects of the total personality. Both these aspects have posed great challenges of increasing sports injuries-chronic athlopathes, lumbago (low back pain) chronic arthopathes (like rheumatoid, arthritis) etc. to the experts of sports medicine. Also psychosomatic ailments like hypertension, bronchial, asthma, gastritis and peptic ulcers anxiety neurosis, etc. disqualify many persons (In the physical fitness tests right in the beginning) who otherwise could have become excellent sportsmen.
Thus, a multi-dimensional set of problems have intensified the challenges being posed to the experts in the field of sports and games. The problems can be solved only by a multi prolonged approach.
Yoga certainly can meet the challenge. It appears to be the right solution to modern man in all aspects of his life in general and the region of games and sports in particular.
Watch for our 2nd post to know, How can Yoga meet these challenges?
This article is an excerpt from ‘BHARATIYA YOGA FOR SPORTSMAN OF THE WORLD’ by Dr. H.R.NAGENDRA, Chancellor, S-VYASA Yoga University. Formerly he was a scientist working for NASA in the USA.
Courtesy: Krida Bharati, Maharashtra, India
This article was previously published in the souvenir to the Bradford Centenary Hindu Marathon. Bradford, UK. 1997.