Compassion – is an (emotion) that one feels in respond to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help. It is a kind feelings to someone who is hurt or is trouble. It is caring deeply & wanting to help. ‘A desire to help others’.

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Compassion in team sport, particularly basketball: Compassion for a teammate can build teamwork & breads more winning/success on a regular basis. It may mean passing him the ball – time after time with non-judgement after he misses shot after shot after shot. He/She misses a key free-throw to ice/win the game & the team looses – you go up to him after the game to talk & boost his confidence. It could also be you giving of yourself in practice to help a teammate struggling on defense & then spending extra one on one time with him after practice to build upon this specific skill. Compassion builds teamwork, trust, integrity, etc. It’s not a sexy word or highly talked about in team sports but is vital for the teams success in the short term but particularly in the long run. All teams in all sports need compassion to be successful.

Compassion in Yoga: Allowing yourself to give up self-blame. It is ‘OK’. It’s – acceptance, recognition, & respect flowing through & uniting us all.  Attending a weekly yoga practice time after time, on a regular basis even when you do not feel like attending (on days when your depressed, tired, feeling sick or sluggish, etc). It’s coming to your mat & accepting – I do not have to be the most bendy or guby like person to have a great yoga practice. Same goes for not having a perfectly meticulous practice or having the most advanced practice or asana (headstand, handstand, bird of paradise, crow, etc). Knowing when to do – ‘Child Pose’ instead of the 10th or 20th down dog or vinyasa while in class. Compassion is also about not judging yourself vs others in class or judging yourself to harshly. Not beating yourself up, time over time over time – accepting your self for who you are. Being open to all experiences. It’s ‘OK’ where you are – right here, right now – at this exact present moment. It’s a process.

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Yoga tie into team sports: Compassion helps us discover who we are. It allows us to accept the present moment without judgment. Teamwork is built on motivation – particularly positive motivation. Caring for teammates in all situations. Accepting who they are & what they can/will contribute to the team. Compassion definitely builds teamwork & character. It helps build a strong bond as a team as facilitates a winning culture. Incorporating yoga into team sports / team training – creates an even stronger bond among teammates. Players are able to balance the high pace of the sport & slower yoga practice = injury prevention, recovery, rejuvenate, & regeneration. Yin & Yang. Being compassionate to there bodies & knowing when they need to rest. Finding a happy medium/balance. Not to much, not to little – just right. Yoga means to yoke, to connect. It’s the yoga off that mat that makes a difference in our lives & lives of others.

“Always keep an open mind and compassionate heart” – Phil Jackson.

Reflective Questions: What is compassion? Why practice compassion? How would you define compassion? What does a compassionate sports team look or sound like? Are you are caring & compassionate person? How does one become a compassionate person? Are we born with compassion? Can compassion be learned as a skill from: friends, family, co-workers, teammates, etc?

Suggested Reading: ‘Sacred Hoops’ – Phil Jackson