I was interested to read that the Archery Association of India now plans to include yoga sessions in their training to build archers’ mental strength and give them the best-possible podium chance in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Archery is all about mental toughness. It is a sport where a calm and composed mind is necessary for success” commented the AAI president Vijay Kumar Malhotra after the Indian archers bagged two silver medals in the recent World Archery Championships in Copenhagen.
Yoga can improve your mental toughness by helping you be more reflective and calm, by positively managing your stress and building your self-belief and confidence. It fits in well with the definition of mental toughness and the related psychological measure MTQ48 developed by Peter Clough and Doug Strycharczyk.
The focus, concentration and the forced stillness required to practise yoga helps you remove the “daily clutter”. It encourages you to be self-eflective and think about your strengths and limitations, preferences and dislikes and your natural place within the world. This calmness reinforces your sense of self-control and your focus on setting commitments.
Yoga’s combination of physical exercise, meditation, and controlled breathing helps you reduce your heart rate and lower your blood pressure which can greatly increase your sense of well-being and decrease your levels of stress and anxiety.
So, through greater self-reflection and managing stress, yoga effectively strengthens the mind and promotes greater positivity and self-confidence.
Another related positive side effect to your mood and self-image is that through adopting strong power-poses during your exercises you improve your posture. Poor posture can lead to self-doubt, negativity, and poor self-esteem whilst good posture increase your self-confidence and your sense of empowerment which in turn helps strengthen your mental toughness
All round Yoga is a positive force in developing your mental toughness as well as your physical fitness.