Meditation for Athletics: The Lisette Sevens Story

These are the meditation experiences from top athlete and Olympic champion (L.A.1984), Lisette Sevens. She has related her experiences with hockey at the international level and the effectiveness of Art of Living for athletes(AOL). She has credited the AOL for improving athletes performance and spoken about how there is a profound relation between Art of Living and top sports.

Olympic Champion Lisette Sevens

Lisette Sevens was the captain of the Dutch women’s hockey team that won the world championship five times in the 1970s and 1980s. In her last year as a player, in 1984, she won the European championship and the Olympic gold medal at the Los Angeles games. She also went to the Sydney Olympic Games, as the manager of the Dutch women’s hockey team. Now, she is a very committed volunteer of the Art of Living Foundation. She helps herself and people grow by conducting the Happiness program, Yoga and the Art of Silence.

Art of Living

  The Art of Living was established by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 1981. It is an educational and humanitarian movement involved in increasing knowledge and awareness of people, through various stress-management and service initiatives. It operates in 155 countries around the world with its headquarters in Bengaluru, India. The Art of Living offers programmes in breathing techniques, meditation and yoga guided by Gurudev's philosophy of peace. It has touched over 370 million people around the world.

Experiences with Sports

The Olympic medallist shared her experiences, ‘As a winner of a gold Olympic medal in ladies’ hockey, I experience Art of Living as a form of top sport. I was lucky enough to be the captain of a top team that became a five-time world champion, one-time European champion and an Olympic champion in 1984 in Los Angeles.”

Qualities of a Top Athlete

  The hockey player shared, “In my view, being a top athlete means: following your heart with devotion and commitment - doing what you do 100%, and continuously trying to improve your performance and breaking your barriers. It is also hard work, but I never experienced it, as such, because I was carried by the desire to put my heart and soul into it, and to bring out the best in myself and my team.

Thanks to this unwavering focus, a lot of discipline and a super team, I was lucky to achieve the highest possible goal in sports - a golden Olympic medal. As a result, I experienced an enormous amount of enthusiasm, bliss and spirit in my life, time and again.”

Yoga, Pranayama & Meditation for Athletics:

The athlete recounted her Art of Living experience and how the programmes conducted, like meditation and pranayama for sports and athletics, can benefit athletes performance. “The Art of Living makes me experience, once again, that feeling of “being carried along by a higher power”, devoting my heart and soul to something, and being rewarded by an ever increasing amount of enthusiasm and bliss in my life.

For me, Art of Living is the best possible way of pushing my personal limits in daily life. My discipline as a top athlete helps me to carry out the daily routine of yoga, meditation, pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya. My natural commitment helps me to be an ardent volunteer and a passionate teacher.”

Mindfulness for Athletes

Lisette Sevens continues, “My reward this time is not a gold medal, which is only something of the outer world, but more mindfulness, inner peace, happiness, bliss and belongingness. I call this gold for the inner world, which is more available for everyone, than a golden Olympic medal. Working as a volunteer helps me to take a more flexible stance, to let go and not want to be in control of everything, work together with a lot of different people and feel connected, once again, with a team that is devoted to bringing out the best in itself, in others and the world – be it in a different way.”

Challenge Your Limits

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is our coach, and, time and again, he challenges us to push back our limits, to make us realise that, in fact, there are no limits, and that we can mean so much more to the world than we would ever think possible. Each moment I feel so blessed and grateful that Gurudev came into my life and that he let me grow with his knowledge, humour, naughtiness, challenges and never-ending patience, wisdom and love. The aim this time is not a golden medal, but something higher: to bring about more peace in my immediate environment and in the world, by means of my own inner peace.”

Art of Living and Top Sport: A Fantastic Combination

“Athletes could benefit tremendously from the breathing exercises, yoga and meditation. Greater self-confidence and connection with each of our own talents brings about a stronger team, more personal leadership, less fear of the opponent, more pleasure in the game and more ground-breaking results. I wish for all top athletes to win their own gold medals with the support of Art of Living techniques and meditation. And even more, I wish each and every person to gain their own inner gold medal: more inner peace, harmony, happiness, blossoming and becoming stronger day by day!

"I feel equal passion for Art of Living as I felt in those days for my sport!”