Taking care of the basics

As people who love sports, we participate actively in life. Sometimes we are so focused on our game we find ourselves nervous, tense, tight and unable to get into the ‘flow zone’ where our game flows naturally.

Wound up like a tight spring? Check your breath. Are your breaths short and fast? If so, I can make a bet with you that your thoughts and ability to stay calm and focused have been compromised.

Regularly check your “breath health” throughout the day. Are you breathing calm, smooth breaths at times when you feel it’s right to do so?  If not, read on.

The following technique takes us to a place of complete body and mind connection. It takes us to a place of peace and quiet; reminiscent of the sounds we would have heard in the womb and also a replication of the calm restful sounds we hear when we are at the ocean.

Inhale and exhale through the nose. Close your windpipe enough as you do this to make a ‘hissing’ sound. I tell my clients the first time they do this; if they start to sound like Darth Vader they are doing the right thing!

What you are doing is regulating the flow of breath in and out of your system. Rather than using your lungs like bellows, you are using your windpipe like a hose, moderating the flow of air in and out of your body. Your breathing is to be smooth, easy and effortless, calm and relaxed.

This breathing is called Ujjayi breath – though one of my clients, Canadian Pro Snowboarder Marlie Marchewka, calls this her yogi breath!  This breathing sends the life force or energy within you to nourish each and every cell within your body.

Practice this before a game or competition or even before you have a tough conversation with your coach. Then, just as you realize you are tensing up, use the yogi breath to become calm and focused once more.

With practice, the result is you will  be able to connect almost immediately with a state of relaxation and flow, while consciously making a mind and body connection that serves you well at the time when you need it most.

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