The Art of Living can benefit sportsmen
- says former motor racer turned teacher Nitim Limaye
By Donald Duff
Stabroek News
June 29, 2003

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Want to get ahead in sports? Want to emulate cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid and be successful on and off the cricket field?

Then join up for a course in the Art of Living says 38-year-old Nitim Limaye, a former successful motor racer who has dedicated the last 10 years of his life to teaching the Art of Living courses across the world.

According to Limaye, the Art of Living is a powerful and effective programme that transforms the quality of one’s life enabling one to be more efficient at work and play.

Giving a bit of background to the Art of Living Foundation, Limaye says.. .”The Art of Living Foundation is a non-profit Educational Organisation affiliated with the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is one of the biggest Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the world and is spread in 148 countries with more than 4500 centres teaching the art of living courses.

Founded by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Limaye, declaring that Shankar... “is the inspiration behind all of us thousands of volunteers all over the world,” says the Art of Living espouses various global projects. One such project, he says, is the 5H programme, Health, Hygiene, Home for Homeless, Human Values and Harmony and Diversity.

The aim of the 5H programme, Lemaye says, is to uplift individuals and rural communities so that they become self-reliant, both economically and socially.

Towards this end, the Art of Living Foundation has adopted 15,000 villages all over the world in their bid to enhance human values.

Speaking of the Art of Living Foundation Limaye says:” As the name suggests it is the skill of living life happily, effectively and successfully. Many people live life by being dependent on situations. In happy situations they are happy but as soon as something bad happens the mood immediately becomes unhappy.

“The course is about learning to take care of your moods in any situation. It is the state of our minds that determines the quality of our lives every moment,” he says matter-of-factly.

“If you learn to manage your emotions, deal with your mind and save it from the negative influence of the surroundings, this life can be much happier, much more fruitful and much more beneficial to the society.

“In a happy, relaxed state of mind, whatever we do becomes more effective,” says Limaye who added that in sports, a confident state of mind is an asset to an athlete.

But even more important than the benefits of the teachings of the Art of Living to sports, is the benefits towards life in general.

Says Limaye,”The key to the success of life lies in how we feel every moment and that is what the Art of Living teaches us. The course is about learning to take care of your mind in any situation.”

There are two aspects of the course.

The first is that through proper breathing techniques, a person can release all the negative emotions and all the negative impressions that have accumulated in the mind over the years.

“There is a connection between the breath and the emotion,” says Limaye. “We use this connection in the course and learn how to breathe properly so that we can control our emotions.”

Controlling of one’s emotions is a vital part of sports competition.

At this year’s French Open, the number one ranked female lawn tennis player in the world, Serena Williams, was so upset after her appeal for a disputed point was overruled, she failed to control her emotion.

And with the crowd rallying behind her opponent Justin Henin-Hardenne, Williams was crushed. She eventually lost the match and broke down at the post match press conference.

“At the end of the course, Limaye says, “one has a practical tool that one can use to conquer the vacillation of the mind.

“Four to five minutes of breathing can calm the mind down when one is unhappy or depressed and five minutes of breathing can recharge a tired or exhausted person,” he says.

Limaye says the second aspect of the course is learning about the tendencies of the mind and its ego.

“Learning about our own behavioural patterns and how our own mind and attitudes creates our life is a very interesting process. You can learn so much about yourself,” he says.

Limaye pointed out that people often respond to the mood they perceive others to be in.

“We deal with the people around us the way people deal with us. When one is happy the way people relate to us changes. When you are unhappy, even children notice it and their behaviour towards us completely changes also.

“The way how people relate to you has an effect on your own state of mind and that is why it is necessary to fine tune our own attitude and that is the second aspect of the course,” Limaye says.

Limaye said some four years ago Tendulkar and Dravid did their first Art of Living course.

Tendulkar, he declares, is still practising the Art of Living and the master batsman actually uses the techniques to help him during his innings.

Limaye declares that if a sportsman uses the Art of Living techniques it can help boost their concentration and enhance their physical, mental and spiritual energy.

Apart from being a successful motor racer, Limaye was also a professional singer and a chemical engineer.

“At a very early age I had all these success,” he reveals. “However, I always had the desire to learn about life. I used to feel there is so much to learn that I should not miss any new opportunity and that attitude brought me to the Art of Living.

“What I experienced in the course, I had never experienced before and that inspired me to go on this path,” he said when asked why he decided to give up all his other careers for this one.

Limaye, now 38 years old, says he has been practising the Art of Living for the past 10 years.

“I get so much satisfaction seeing people getting transformed in six days,” he said adding...”for me there is no bigger satisfaction in life than seeing people of all religions, all nationalities, all social backgrounds joining together in one big family to make life a celebration.”

The Art of Living will stage another course in Guyana from July 15-20.

Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid find the Art of Living benefical to their sporting careers.

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