General: Today, it is well accepted that sports performance is not all physical. Mental components play important roles in peak performance and achieving excellence. For example, stress management has been proven an
effective tool with those who strive for excellence in Olympic sports and in the high end of amateur sports. Conversely, research has shown that athletes are particularly vulnerable to developing illness at critical times of the competitive
season due to stresses of intensive training loads and of the competition itself. From a medical standpoint, these findings are not surprising: The close connection between mind and body has been recognized since ancient times and
has influenced the traditional healing arts from cultures around the world for millennia. The importance of bi-directional interactions between the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems, and their relevance to disease states, has been
recognized and now widely documented by modern medical science. It is therefore important for the competitive athlete to have a ‘mind-body’ approach to his/her discipline.
Methods: The Art of Living Workshop, taught by the Art of Living Foundation, an international non-profit educational organization is founded by world renowned humanitarian nan Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. This workshop is a stress
reduction and health promotion program that has been learned by 2 million people in 146 countries worldwide. The workshop is completed over several days, taking several hours daily. It includes cognitive coping and stressor appraisal
strategies, simple stretching exercises, and specific breathing techniques (AOL practices). Participants also receive a 20-30 minute daily program to continue independently at home. This course and the home practice regimen have
been reported to lead to significant improvements in emotional and physical well-being in individuals regardless of age, sex, religion, socioeconomic status, educational or cultural background.
Results/Discussion: Recent medical research