Friday, October 7, 2022

The Beauty of Rituals


Novak Djokovic the Serbian tennis star does not use the same shower to take a bath twice. So for many sporting events, he may have skipped taking a bath before the sporting event. Also, he loves to carry his poodle, Pierre to sporting events though he was refused entry to Wimbledon in 2011 for the same reason. Despite the distress, he won the tournament.

Likewise, Rafael Nadal, the multiple title winner,tennis ace likes to face the water bottles with their labels overlooking the court before the match commences. He always wears socks of the same length and holds only one racquet when entering or stepping into the court with his right foot first. He is a perfectionist, though these habits may reflect eccentricity.

Yet another tennis sensation Serena Williams never washes her socks during the entire tournament, ties her shoelaces in every match and uses the same shower, unlike Djokovic.

The list is endless and these rituals in which these sporting sensations indulge are with a purpose. Before delving into the reasons let us know of some more strange rituals. Just to name a few:

a) Play of the Tigers - Puli Kali- On fourth day of Onam this traditional dance is performed in Kerala where the dancers dress as tigers and perform with a wild spirit to the beat of drums

b) Kill or Get Killed- Bani Festival- Performed on the Dusshera day in Andhra Pradesh when Malleswaram Swamy( Lord Shiva) and Malamma( Godddess Parvati) are brought to the temple at Devaragattu Temple in Kurnool.The act of thrashing each other with blood flowing from body parts, though leaves many hurt, has never resulted in casualties so far.

c) Walk of Fire - Thimiti - This takes place in Tamilnadu, Singapore etc where men walk over fire embers as a devotion towards Draupti Amman( Draupadi of Mahabharata).The fire walkers come out unsctched

There are many more like Thaipusam involving body piercing or Ayudha Puja involving worship of weapons. The rituals enable us to connect with our deepest thoughts and feelings on profound occasions. our highest hopes and most debilitating fears.

According to Scientific American a recent research suggests that rituals may be more rational than they appear.Even simple rituals can be very effective. Certain rituals performed after experiencing loss of loved ones help in allevating grief.Certain rituals performed before appearing on stage for a big event like music, sports or live performance help in reduced anxiety and fear, The research has also shown that rituals have a causal impact of people;s emotions, feelings, thoughts and behaviour. Several experiments both in the laboratory and onsite have shown a high correlation in increased coping  abillitirs in those performing certain rituals vs those who did not after experiencing stressful situations like facing natural calamities.

 The biggest benefits in improved physical and mental health have been extensively recorded for those following some of the rituals as follows:

1.Waking early and exposing skin to the natural environment

2. Deep breathing and yoga if possible

3. A hearty wholesome breakfast

4. A Walk

5. Eating greens

6. Limiting scree time

7. Drinking a lot of water to maintain hydration

8. Introspection/ meditation

9. A good sleep

One sees different rituals right from birth and as one grows learns from environment around. The choices are individualistic based on learning and often others experiences too!Every part of the world has witnessed some form of rituals. All said and done the ritulas continue to be an important part of our lives in all stages. Making the right choices is what makes the difference