The Importance of Stillness

Finding the time to be still in today’s fast-paced world is no easy feat. You’re expected to be actively engaged with work, family, friends, even friends of friends, through email, social media, and group chats (that you were involuntarily added to) 24 hours a day. You’ve also got to find time to shop for groceries, do the washing, go to the dentist, attend an after-work function, and the list goes on and on. There’s no time to waste, but that’s exactly why you need to find the time to be still and practice being mindful.

Tim Ferris, best selling author of the “4 Hour Work Week” and host of The Tim Ferris (business) podcast, has interviewed thousands of highly successful people from all walks of life and industries. Ferris found that “at least 80 percent of the people I have interviewed have some type of daily mindfulness practise.” Yoga is included in Ferris’ definition of mindfulness, which successful people use to quiet their minds, concentrate on breathing, and rid themselves of unnecessary stress.

With that in mind, here are five famous yogi’s who attribute the routine practise of yoga as a key ingredient to their success.

Beyoncé – Musician

If you want to “run the world” like Beyoncé, do as Beyoncé does. The pop sensation is a famous yogi and incorporates it into her weekly workout routine. She says that yoga is great for “relieving stress and making you bendy.” If you’re looking for evidence you only have to watch one of her live performances or iconic music videos.

Richard Branson – Businessman and Philanthropist

It’s no surprise that the man behind Virgin Active gyms promotes being active as a key ingredient to his success. More specifically, Branson wrote on his blog that “Yoga is a less strenuous way to get active, but also very rewarding and relaxing.” He’s even hinted at the idea of “in-flight yoga.” That’ll make those long-haul journeys a lot more fun.

Ellen Degeneres – Talk Show Host

The talk show queen, Ellen Degeneres, attributes looking and feeling so young to practising meditation, eating healthily (Ellen’s a vegan), and yoga.The funniest woman on television starts her day with 60 to 90 minutes of yoga poses to calm her before her busy day begins. Once her mind is clear of all that unnessesary clutter, she can concentrate on what’s really important – making people laugh.

Giselle Bündchen – Supermodel

Gisele Bündchen is probably the most famous supermodel in the world. That hasn’t happened without a lot of hard work. She dedicates at least one hour a day to working out, listing Anusara yoga – a form of free-style yoga – as her favourite activty to help maintain her incredible physique and provide her with tranquillity and stability of mind.

David and Victoria Beckham – Footballer and Pop Star Turned Designer

The power couple like to practise yoga together. They reportedly do power yoga classes for couples twice a week, which is impressive considering their hectic schedules. A source close to the couple told The Evening Standard “It’s a very intimate experience. You have to learn to become one entity entirely. You stretch, breathe and move as one. They started taking the classes about a year ago and it’s astonishing how in tune with each other they are these days.“

So if you’re looking to bend it like the Beckhams or simply find some time to be still in your hectic schedule, make yoga a part of your weekly routine, and add a can of Tranquini to your daily dose of stillness.

A Portrait Of Calm

At 100 metres below the oceans surface its almost entirely dark. The pressure exerted on your body is 13 times stronger than at sea level. It’s freezing cold, you’re at least a minute and a half swim away from the surface and virtually out of breath. Your lungs will have hardened to protect your chest cavity from being crushed, and because you have very little air in your lungs pushing you towards the surface, the swim back requires twice the effort. Sounds like a nightmare right? Not for the likes of Guillaume Nery, world famous free-diver, who describes feeling amazing at these crazy subterranean depths.

Above the surface, under this kind of pressure, your natural instinct is to fight, resist and struggle but according to Nery, who has regularly broken the symbolic 100-meter mark, you must do the exact opposite. You must convince your mind to relax completely and to stay calm.

Unlike most extreme sports, which require high levels of adrenaline, free driving requires total relaxation of the body and mind. In the words of Nery “you have to tell yourself that nature and the elements are stronger than you. You have to let the water crush you. I accept the pressure and go with it.”

He also says that its incredibly important to stay positive and no let your thoughts wonder, to the infinite amount of “what ifs”, which will make you panic and drive you crazy. It’s important to remain completely focused on the present and deal with what you can control, not what you can’t. “Never look at the surface, not with your eyes or your mind,” says Nery.

Free diving also emphasizes how important it is to breathe correctly. Focusing on your breathing allows one to stay calm and in the moment, and in the case of free divers explore an underwater universe that few get to witness.

By applying mental techniques such as the ones listed above, Nery and free divers like him have been able to swim to depths that doctors and physiologists had previously deemed impossible. The sport continues to prove the incredible power of the mind.

So the next time you start to panic before a big presentation, or you’re stepping into an exam, or someone cuts you off in the traffic, remember to take in a deep breath, relax, stay calm, stay present, drink a can of Tranquini and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.