Racing calm

The Strength of Breathing. Staying Calm in Tough Times.

The Breakdown.

In an instant. Our focus goes. The stress. Frustration. Sneaks in. Riding on the back of our negative thoughts.

Whether it is the big project at the office we were so close to completing. The last few questions on the exam. Or the big event we have been training for.

The mind. It has the power to derail everything. In a blink of an eye.

Usually during this meltdown we gaze around the room. Or out on the course. To see if we are alone in this battle. To gage if we are holding it together better than the person next to us. And depending on what we see we usually slide deeper into the pity party.

Mental Training.

Breath calms the mind
Using the breath to calm us allows for many things to be overcome.

Over the years through sports, school and work. I have enjoyed many of meltdowns. Some at catastrophic levels. Other just mere five minute spells.

A few years back. Something entered into my world. That has been a huge assets in getting through these trying moments.

The practice of yoga. And mental training.

In yoga the breath becomes our guide. And best friend. We learn that just using the breath it can calm the mind. Lower the heart rate. And ultimate control ourselves from coming unglued.

How does this play into real life. Especially when one does not have time for yoga. Or the desire to go.

Breathing. Sitting. And in small doses.

It can be as simple as the drive home from the office. This is one of those places where the wheels love to fall off the wagon after being drained from work. And that guy in the Honda just cut us off.

Breathe.

Steady exhales. Let the inhale be the same length. See how long you can stand the silence and focus on the breath for. Then maybe try to repeat it.

A simple exercise like this will begin to teach the mind that we can sit. And overcome the obstacles of life.

Training for the Big Event.

Race Focus
The opening buoy for the course race at the Gorge Paddle Challenge in Hood River, Oregon. Photo by Georgia Schofield

We all have a big event in our lives. Sometimes it is a big meeting with the boss. A job interview. Or a stand up paddleboard race.

Any of these type of events can trigger our mind. To conspire and sabotage all of the hard work we have put forward. But our breath can slow the minds evil plan. Especially in the moment where we begin to feel taxed. Whether physically, mentally or both.

In the world of stand up paddling this usually occurs about 30 plus minutes into the event. Where we begin to push ourselves past the comfort zone. And start to suffer a bit. We have a tendency to stop breathing. And begin to feel everything in our body. The calf that is tight. The sore shoulder. The lower back. And the hands.

The moment we begin to feel this way. Take the biggest exhale breath. Sending all that air out. The inhale will occur naturally. Then repeat with another huge exhale. And then one more time. See how you feel. Did the mind quiet? The body begin to feel ok?

 

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